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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Primary and Secondary Prevention of Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy

Location: Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop and improve immunoassays for detection of peanut and/or tree nut, and soy allergen residues before and after processing (i.e. roasting, baking into cookies, etc).


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Either subject various products containing peanuts, tree nuts, soy proteins, or the nuts themselves to different processes, or acquire existing marketed products and optimize methods to: • Extract allergenic food proteins with the highest efficiency to enable detection. • Develop antibodies against the various processed forms of the allergenic foods. • Utilize antibodies to develop various immunological detection methods. • Assure that the antibodies do not cross-react with other foods, and to characterize cross-reactivity if they do.


3.Progress Report:

This is the final progress report for this project. A working group under the auspices of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) Community on Food Allergens, has assembled the following document to provide supplemental guidance on the specifications for the development and implementation of studies to validate the performance characteristics of quantitative enzyme linked immunsorbent assay (ELISA) methods for the determination of allergenic food residues in processed products. Preliminary analysis of a large dataset of repeated challenges (118 patients who had at least 2 challenges, 48 with at least 3 and 20 with at least 4 challenges) supports the assumption that population thresholds remain steady over time. The results undertaken under well-controlled conditions constitute robust data for quantitative risk assessment of allergenic foods. The development of specific and sensitive immunochemical methods for the detection of allergenic food residues remains a critical need for the food industry and regulatory agencies. The Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska has completed the development of ELISAs for the detection of allergenic residues of a major tree nut allergen (cashew) and buckwheat which is a common allergen in Japan. FARRP is also in the process of developing an ELISA for the detection of tree nuts and other food residues in processed foods. Cross-contamination presents a risk of unknown magnitude for food-allergic consumers. This review examines where cross-contamination can occur (i.e. in homes, restaurants, food manufacturing plants, and on farms) and discusses how the recognition of threshold doses for food allergens may help to improve the quality of life for food-allergic consumers.


Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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