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Hidden allergen detection in spices

Peanut traces in cumin cause risk for consumers with food allergy

A recent recall in Canada and the USA once more stressed the importance of allergen detection in spices and other food ingredients. Several seasoning mixes, soups and meal kits, using cumin as an ingredient were found to contain traces of peanut and almond.

The FDA issued a consumer advice for customers with a peanut allergy to review a list of recalled products and read the ingredient panel of food products carefully. Also in Europe undeclared allergens were found in spices like paprika. Although it is still unclear how these spices got contaminated, this recall highlights the need to test ingredients for “hidden” allergens.

Allergen detection in spices – methods available

Spices are difficult matrices to analyze. Using an effective extraction method is of paramount importance. We have developed and validated effective extraction protocols which are suitable for allergen detection in spices and other complicated matrices. The choice of analytical method is yours: ELISA or real-time PCR.

ELISA is the most wide spread used method for food allergen detection in spices as well as other food products. For peanut and almond we offer:

ELISA based methods for food allergen detection are particularly suited for testing large numbers of samples. Options for automation of allergen detection by ELISA are also available.

Sample preparation 20 minutes
Time to result
30 minutes
LOD 1,5 ppm 1,2 ppm
LOQ 2,5 ppm 2,5 ppm
Recovery 10 ppm peanut / almond in cumin 83% 94%

Real-time PCR will enable you to do multiplex allergen analysis in all kinds of foods:

Real-time PCR is an excellent method for the identification and quantification of plant based allergens like nuts. The stability of DNA makes qPCR an excellent method for allergen detection in processed and heat treated food. PCR is also a great tool for confirmation of analytical results!

Can I have my samples tested for allergens?

If you prefer to have your samples tested by an accredited laboratory we can also offer allergen detection in spices as an analytical service. Our partners Trilogy Analytical Laboratory in the USA and Congen in Germany offer detection of allergens in various food samples by ELISA or PCR. Please download the sample submission forms for sending samples to Trilogy or Congen.

Quality control of ingredients is essential to assure safe food for all consumers. Testing food allergens in your laboratory by ELISA or real-time PCR or sending your samples to an accredited laboratory are cornerstones of an effective allergen management.

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