With the recent UK recall for ground cumin issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) due to the discovery of undeclared peanut protein, the issue of adulteration of the supply chain is once again front-of-mind.
The adulteration of cumin with both peanut and almond has been reported as widespread in the USA and Canada where testing has uncovered high levels of allergenic protein. To protect the brands of suppliers and processors, and to crucially protect allergic consumers, testing is a viable option.
With horse-gate still firmly in memory from 2012, this most recent recall serves to confirm the ongoing importance of ingredient and end product testing and a thorough food safety testing plan.
Compliance with Labelling Legislation
“Both food allergic consumers and food producers rely on the accurate labelling of food products to protect themselves from the consequences of the accidental ingestion of food allergens,” says Steve Chambers, Neogen Europe’s Sales and Marketing Director. “With potential adulteration it’s important for producers to have the tools to help them label with confidence. Through the use of our validated testing kits, our accredited laboratory services and the experience of our technical staff, we have been working alongside the market to reduce uncertainty.
“With our tests, we have ruled out cross-reactivity as a reason for positive peanut results with spice blends and cumin, which is an obvious concern for the food industry. We are confident that our tests are giving a true detection of peanut and almond from testing we have carried out. Accurate and timely testing can protect businesses in the food value chain — and their consumers.”
Range of Testing Solutions
Neogen’s AOAC-approved Veratox® ELISA test for Peanut Allergen has been validated to detect and fully quantify peanut residues in cumin in around 30 minutes, perfect for both laboratories and large food manufacturers. Neogen also offers the Alert® for Peanut microwell test, which screens samples at 5 parts per million (ppm), and is based on the same technology as Veratox, but is simpler to run. Both testing solutions are also available for the detection of almonds.
For companies who do not use on-site testing or are looking for further analysis, Neogen also offers a rapid external testing service at its accredited laboratory in Ayr, Scotland. Neogen offers a range of turnaround times ranging from same day express analysis through to three, five or 10 day turnarounds depending on your time scales.
Find Out More
Neogen has created a special website where processors, producers and testing labs can go for further information, including a new white paper on contaminated cumin. The address is www.neogeneurope.com/CuminResponse/. On the site you will find information on contacting Neogen to speak to a specialist, and be able to download our new white paper, our allergen supplier checklist, and our Food Allergen Control Handbook.
Neogen’s food allergen testing products have been developed in close cooperation with the University of Nebraska’s Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP, www.farrp.org). FARRP is a food industry and university partnership that was formed to provide research and resource tools to the food industry. It is the leader in training and educating the industry on allergen awareness.
Neogen Europe Ltd., the European subsidiary of Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG), is a high technology business dedicated to the development and marketing of novel diagnostic kits. These kits focus on topical concerns about the quality and safety of food and agricultural products, from the quality of seed that goes into the ground, right through the chain to the safety of fully processed food products. Neogen Europe was awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for international trade and development, one of the highest awards bestowed on a UK company.