Wednesday, 08 December 2021

Detection of unclaimed allergens is major issue for food recalls today

02 November 2017 | Analysis

Processed food market is growing into multiple folds but this rapidly growing market requires a structure that can prevent it from deceitful activities. SCIEX is one of the global leaders that provides array of technologies that succour food testing labs and scientists to perform their duties effortlessly.

Food testing labs are now playing a major role in beefing-up the security which can curb the food swindle radically. Processed food market is growing into multiple folds in India as well as globally but this rapidly growing market requires a structure that can prevent it from deceitful activities and also provide an austere and incessant monitoring. SCIEX one of the global leaders in providing the array of technologies that succour food testing labs and scientists to perform their duties effortlessly, while maintaining high quality standards. In an exclusive interview with NuFFooDS Spectrum, Dr Jianru Stahl Zeng, Global Application Manager, Food & Environment solutions, SCIEX highlights the current challenges of the food sector and shares how SCIEX is assisting the sector to overcome these hurdles.

Q. What role does the Food Testing Labs play in providing a healthy and nutritional food to any country?

Recently, the food market is flooded with many fraudulent activities and this has raised a major anxiety among the food business operators. Without having a highly equipped food testing labs, these deceitful practices are expected to rise significantly. So currently, food testing labs are acting as a perfect bridge between the food processing units to consumers’ dinner table. Nowadays, when we talk about food sector, it is not just merely another industry, it is more than a billion dollar industry which is growing rapidly so, we are speaking about the movement of a sector which contributes a major chunk to the global economy. In Europe, apart from installing food testing lab, the EU Committee has also deployed a food monitoring system which monitors domestic food but also the food items which are imported into the European market.

Q. How SCIEX is assisting these labs and food scientists to perform their task efficiently?

As compared to last few years, the food testing system has evolved considerably. It is mainly because the adulteration has grown to manifolds. For eg: for testing of pesticides, there are various compounds of pesticides that need to be tested. Every time a new pesticide is deducted, we need to upgrade system accordingly to conduct future tests. For that, in SCIEX, on one side, we have to provide a stable and sensitive instrument and on another side, we also have to assist our customer to develop an application method to deduct a specific type of pesticide that they want to.

Q. Why labelling is considered as one of the tools to curtail food fraud?

Well, the food labelling is one practice which all the global food regulators have been promoting across the countries. In western nations, labelling of food products is mandatory and every food business operator has to comply with that. This landscape of making food labelling a compulsion, is slowly gripping the Asian countries as well and it is a very positive sign.

Q. SCIEX has introduced a solution that can help labs to analysis pesticide residue can you elaborate on that?

Yes, SCIEX has developed an instrument called ‘Triple Quadrupole Instrument’ which enables our customers to test any food article to measure the amount of pesticide residue it contains. Liquid Chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-S/MS) using a triple quadrupole (QqQ) analyzer has in the last few years become a powerful technique for the determination of pesticide residues due to its robustness, and excellent sensitivity and selectivity. This technique allows the reliable quantification and identification of low pesticide concentrations in varied food samples. It has allowed a notable improvement of methods performance in comparison with the traditional LC methods or single stage quadrupole MS.

Q. What is Food Allergen Testing and what solutions does SCIEX have for multiple allergen testing?

One of the biggest reasons for food recalls today is the detection of unclaimed allergens. It is estimated that more than 150 million people worldwide have food allergies, and with no cure, the only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid consumption. Side-effects from consuming a food allergen range from rashes and hives to loss of consciousness, or severe, and potentially fatal, anaphylaxis, making food allergen testing and accurate food labelling fundamentally important. At SCIEX, we provide V method for allergen screening and quantitation, this method enables the user to test multiple food allergens by completing the entire testing cycle right from sample preparation to getting the final result.

Q. Recently, SCIEX has launched SWATH Data Independent Acquisition (DIA) can you elaborate on its working and is it beneficial for food scientists and labs?

SWATH Data Independent Acquisition (DIA) works in combination with tough instruments. This method provides a system which can meet regulation and also a testing structure that can even perform tests on sensitive food items such as baby food. SWATH Acquisition collects all the data that a user needs on his/her sample the first time. This becomes especially critical when the time is a factor, reanalysis is not an option, sample quantity is limited, or user sample is at risk to degrade. As a data-independent acquisition strategy, SWATH Acquisition collects MS and MS/MS information on every detectable peak –leaving the user with an option to re-interrogate his/her sample data should new questions arise tomorrow. User’s digital archive is his/her safety net, allowing the user to re-analyze the sample without having to re-run it on his mass spec.

Q. Any other such innovative products that SCIEX has in its pipeline?

Yes, we are constantly working with our customers to provide perfect solutions that can address their issues more appropriately. Right now, I can’t reveal any details of our future products but our team is working day and night to deliver best solutions to this industry which can help them in carrying out their businesses at ease.

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