Neogen responds to peanut contamination in cumin and spice blends

peanuts in & out of shell_resizedThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently recalled hundreds of different products containing cumin after they were found to be contaminated with peanuts and almonds, leading to a potential health risk for consumers with nut allergies.

According to a recent article, this is now being called the most “widespread series of allergy-related recalls” in allergy labeling history as it has been found to affect hundreds of products commonly found on grocers’ shelves nationwide including cumin powder and ground cumin.

In response to these recent recalls, Neogen announced that its comprehensive line of food allergen tests includes quantitative and screening test kits that can quickly and accurately detect peanut and almond allergens in cumin and spice blends.

Neogen’s AOAC-approved Veratox® for Peanut Allergen has been validated to detect and fully quantify peanut residues in cumin in about 30 minutes, with minimal training and equipment. Neogen also offers its Alert® for Peanut Allergen, which screens samples at 5 parts per million (ppm), and is based on the same technology of its Veratox test. The company offers the same options to test samples for the presence of almonds. In addition, the Reveal® for Peanut Allergen test kit is an effective screening tool for the presence of peanut residues in these sample types.

For companies that prefer not to do their own on-site testing, Neogen also offers a rapid laboratory testing service at its locations in Lansing, Mich., and Ayr, Scotland.

Barbara Hirst, a consultant in the food safety and quality industry, told Food Quality News that testing validation is critical to understanding the scale of the problem and ensuring all results have been verified.

“Spices can be a difficult matrix to test because they are highly colored and polyphones can interfere with the test so you need to the right kind of validation to get the right result,”she said.

Based on these concerns, Neogen has created a special website where processors, producers and test labs can go for further information, including a new white paper on contaminated cumin. 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.

“Both food allergic consumers and food producers rely on the accurate labeling of food products to protect themselves from the consequences of the accidental ingestion of food allergens,” said Tony Lupo, Neogen’s Director of Technical Services.

“Testing that we have done with numerous raw ingredient and finished product samples containing cumin have detected the presence of peanuts, in high levels in some cases. Tests can protect businesses in the food value chain — and their consumers.”

For more information, click here.

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