School of Science
Research Plus CERC postdoctoral fellowship by CSIRO, Australia
Accidental milk cross-contamination is one of the most common causes for costly food recalls. Yet, quantifying trace-levels of allergen is time-consuming and current methods are not adapted for routine analyses making quality control for trace-level allergen content impractical. This perpetuates voluntary “may-contain” statements that are unhelpful for people suffering from food allergies. Here, we developed a rapid LC-MS method enabling milk allergen quantification by comparing all tryptic-peptides of major milk allergens. The bovine-specific αS-2 casein peptide and allergen-epitope NAVPITPTLNR provided excellent performance in sensitivity (LOD 1 mg.kg − 1; LOQ 2 mg.kg − 1) across various dairy products, good recovery rates in baked croissants (77 % with a 10 % inter-day RSD) and a linear range of 2 – 2,000 mg.kg − 1. The method can be used for routine determination of trace-contamination with bovine milk allergen and the adulteration of high-value caprine dairy products with lower-value bovine milk products, protecting consumer trust and the growing population suffering from food allergies.
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