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Food allergen testing: LFD vs. ELISA.

food allergen testing

Creating an effective allergen control plan is an important process for ensuring consumer safety.

Lateral flow devices (LFD) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests are an essential part of your food allergen control program.

This outline of the important differences between 3M’s LFD testing kits and ELISA testing kits will help you understand their benefits and choose the one that is most suitable for your facility.

What are the differences between LFD and ELISA food allergen testing kits?

  1. LFD testing kits.

The 3M™ LFD Protein Rapid Kit uses a lateral flow device that is an immunoassay test method which utilizes antibodies specific to detect a select protein. Positive results are visible in the presence of three lines: a control line, a hook line, and a test line. The LFD kit is a qualitative measure that captures a “Yes/No” result for a specific allergen chemical to a specific limit of detection in parts per million (ppm).

The 3M™ LFD Protein Rapid Kit is intended for screening for the presence of specific proteins in clean-in-place (CIP) final rinse water, environmental swab samples, ingredients, and solid and liquid products. An LFD kit is easy to use and provides a result within 11 +/- 1 minutes after inoculation. This minimizes the time you have to wait to get results compared to external laboratory testing, optimizing labour efficiency.

  1. ELISA testing kits.

The 3M™ ELISA Protein Testing Kits use enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Positive results are indicated by a colour change if there is a presence of the allergen for which you are testing once the appropriate enzyme binds to the antibody on the protein. The ELISA method provides a quantitative reading regarding the amount of the allergen present. The final presentation for the quantitative ELISA will require a reading from a colorimetric microplate reader.

LFD vs. ELISA: what you need to know.

Preparing an ELISA test when an LFD kit is equally appropriate is both a time and cost issue for the user.

To complete all the steps of an ELISA test, the technician will need approximately 2.5 hours. The steps are specific and detailed, so the technician will require more training to perform the ELISA testing. It is also necessary to create a calibration curve in ELISA testing, which uses testing wells. This curve is necessary each time, regardless of the number of samples being tested, making this a potentially more expensive method than the LFD test kit.

ELISA test kits can be used to determine a specific quantitative answer regarding the presence and amount of an allergen. Businesses such as reference laboratories, regulatory entities, or companies that produce ingredients may require a quantitative answer for the chemical present if a batch of ingredients is higher than the desired ppm. The company can then apply the necessary corrective actions, which will help keep consumers safe and prevent products from being wasted.

The use of ELISA and/or LFD Testing is an important aspect of any part of an allergen control program. By testing the final product, conducting environmental testing, and validating if the plant is being cleaned properly, you can help identify if the allergen program in place is working well.

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About the Author

[enBio=A microbiologist by trade, Ana Maria has over 12 years of experience working in the food industry, including dairy products, ice cream, water, condiment and dressing products. Her diverse expertise ranges from quality assurance, quality control, good manufacturing practices (GMPs), good laboratory practices (GLPs), hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) system, and research and development. She’s also an internal auditor of ISO9001 and SQF practitioner. ],[enJob=Professional Services Representative, Food Safety Division, 3M Canada],[frBio=Microbiologiste de profession, Ana Maria possède 12 années d’expérience au sein de l’industrie alimentaire, y compris dans les domaines des produits laitiers, de la crème glacée, de l’eau, des condiments et des pansements. Sa vaste expertise inclut l’assurance de la qualité, le contrôle de la qualité, les bonnes pratiques de fabrication, les bonnes pratiques de laboratoire, l’analyse des risques aux points critiques (HACCP) et la recherche et le développement. Elle est également vérificatrice interne relativement à la norme ISO 9001 et praticienne SQF. Ana Maria joue un rôle actif au sein de la communauté de la microbiologie à titre de membre de l’AMQ (Association des microbiologistes du Québec).],[frJob=Représentante des Services professionnels, Division des produits de sécurité alimentaire, Compagnie 3M Canada]

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