Allergen Testing

Food allergies affect around 1.5 million people in the UK and can be potentially life-threatening. It’s essential for food producers and retailers to incorporate food allergen testing procedures and follow best-practice in order to protect consumers from harm, and to be compliant with government regulations. Hence SYNLAB laboratories specialise in food allergen testing.

Changes to legislation over the years, including new laws on food labelling brought in by the EU in 2004, have been introduced to ensure consumers are provided with more information in regards to the presence of food allergens.

It is essential that all suppliers of foodstuffs comply with these new requirements and are prepared for any changes to legislation in the future. SYNLAB Food Testing laboratories’ range of food allergen testing is comprehensive and reliable, covering all of the allergens listed in the latest legislations, plus many more.

Whatever your business needs, we offer food allergen testing to serve businesses both large and small, ensuring your customers and your reputation remain protected.

Below is a list of our routine range of food allergen testing

Please note, the majority of our ELISA and PCR tests are accredited. If they are not accredited we have flexible scope for ELISA and PCR based methods so please ask the laboratory if you are interested in having a particular test accredited.

  • Almond
  • β-Lactoglobulin
  • Casein
  • Crustacea
  • Egg
  • Fish (Cod Parvalbumin)
  • Gluten R5 Mendez
  • Hazelnut
  • Histamine
  • Lupin
  • Mustard
  • Peanut
  • Sesame
  • Soya
  • Walnut
  • Gluten Competitive (for Beer/Syrup Samples)
  • Lactose
  • Sulphites (SO2)
  • Mollusc
  • Wheat
  • Celery
  • Single Nuts – choose Almond; Brazil; Cashew; Hazelnut; Macadamia (Queensland nut); Peanut; Pecan; Pistachio; Walnut
  • 9-Nut Screen (9-Nuts as above in one test, for one price)
  • New accreditations are added regularly – please check back or ask for the latest information.

Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? 

We will always go the extra mile to meet our clients’ needs and have an extensive network of approved partner companies. As a result, we are known as the people to contact for even the most obscure queries. Whatever analysis you are looking for please do not hesitate to get in touch via food@synlabuk.com

Gluten

Consumer awareness of gluten intolerance and coeliac disease has increased dramatically and the industry has responded by introducing a vast range of gluten-free products.

Gluten sensitivity is often associated with Coeliac Disease, although it is not limited to those diagnosed with the illness. The most common symptoms of any gluten sensitivity relate to digestive discomfort and gastrointestinal disorders. Wheat allergy is different to gluten sensitivity and can result in anaphylaxis and nausia.

SYNLAB offers a choice of gluten and wheat analysis. For advice on the most appropriate method to choose please contact us.

Analysis

Our back-to- lab services are carried out using the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) technique which is based on an antigen-antibody interaction to allergenic proteins.  The method for gluten is the R5 using the Ridascreen kit (SYNLAB method MET021). This test uses the Mendez Cocktail extraction and is the Codex recommended method.

Some tests may vary in terms of extraction method and antibody resulting in varying specificity, recovery and quantitation limits. If you are unsure which test to select or whether our method is appropriate please contact us with details of the sample and any local legislative or specific consumer/retailer requirements.

We also offer qualitative allergen detection, ideal for due diligence monitoring – this service is available on all allergen analysis (except lactose).

You can buy on-site test kits which take less than 15 minutes from start to finish and give an instant result. They are most useful for environmental swab analysis but can be proven to work on raw material and finished samples following validation.

Beer

Testing fermented products such as beer is complex and obtaining accurate results cannot be assumed in standard sandwich ELISA tests (the format of the R5 Mendez tests). For such samples a Competitive ELISA is recommended as this is capable of detecting hydrolised protein fragments and providing accurate measurements of gliadin peptides.

As a specialist analytical laboratory we have always been proud of our understanding of these tests and our ability to advise customers to ensure the test results they obtain are true to the sample provided.

SYNLAB was the first laboratory in the world offering this test with UKAS accreditation. This demonstrates the quality of analysis taking place at SYNLAB and providers retailers with the reassurance they so often demand.

All of this leading expertise is available at SYNLAB’s usual low prices and with a 2 day turnaround as standard. Same day service is also available.

Legislation

The rules are laid out in Commission Directive 2003/89/EC which came into force on in 2004 and was amended in 2006. This EU directive lists 14 ingredients that are known to cause allergies and intolerances. New legislation came into force in December 2014, meaning these obligations now also apply to foodservice.

Under current legislation, for prepackaged foods and alcoholic drinks, any of the 14 listed ingredients must be clearly labelled if they, or any products made from them, are used at any level in foodstuffs including alcoholic drinks. The ingredients are: cereals containing gluten; crustaceans; fish; eggs; peanuts; soybeans; milk; nuts (namely, almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan nut, brazil nut, pistachio nut, macadamia/Queensland nut); celery; mustard; sesame seeds; lupin; mollusc; sulphur dioxide and sulphites at levels above 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre expressed as SO2.

At present only gluten has a legally enforced maximum levels for allergen content in foodstuffs. Legislation introduced in January 2012 details the following with regard to gluten:

  • Gluten-free foods (naturally or where gluten has been removed) – levels of gluten must not exceed 20ppm
  • Reduced gluten – levels must be between 20 and 100ppm

This means anything containing gluten above 100ppm cannot be labelled as gluten-free, suitable for Coeliacs, etc.

Changes in legislation mean that as of December 2014 all food service providers are required to supply customers with sufficient allergen information to allow them to make an informed decision when ordering food. We created a product designed to assist you in complying with the legislation and it allows you to demonstrate to authorities how you are going above and beyond to protect your customers. Contact us for more information about our on-site gluten test kits.

For the legislation relating to gluten specifically click here.

For the Codex standard referred to in the above legislation click here.

Composition & Oats

Analysis for gluten presence focuses on glutenins, a protein composite found in cereals such as wheat, barley and rye. Its purpose in food is to give elasticity, so helping bread for example to rise and maintain shape. Without gluten or a suitable substitute dough-based foods lack stability and can crumble very easily. The specific protein in wheat is gliadin, in rye is secalin and in barley is hordein.

The protein in oats is avenin which many people with Coeliac’s disease can tolerate. The legislation includes oats within the ‘gluten’ category however any oat product containing less than 20ppm gluten can be classed as gluten-free. Contamination by a gluten cereal such as wheat or barley is the most likely cause of an oat product giving a high gluten presence. Oats are not normally detected in gluten analysis due to these special dispensations in the legislation, however specific oat presence can be determined using a DNA based method such as PCR. In Australia and New Zealand, however, oats are not permitted in gluten-free products.