The Problem 
The prevalence of allergic diseases in the industrialized world has been on the rise for the last 50 years, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affects an estimated 4–6 percent of children in the United States. Coupled with the finalization of the Food Safety Modernization Act, monitoring of food safety systems is more critical now than ever.

In food manufacturing, cross-contamination can be a major problem, especially for contract manufacturers who often have a wide variety of allergens on-site. Most companies have tight control of their ingredients, but even the best allergen Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program can’t eliminate all possible risk factors.

The Investigation
A customer has an excellent allergen HACCP program in place and regularly swabs equipment after cleaning, sending samples to third-party-certified labs for verification of their cleaning program as well as sending their final products for analysis. On one occasion, this customer was getting sporadic positives for total milk protein in a batch of supposedly “milk-free” product. Working with the manufacturer, we developed a relevant sampling plan, and by scaling up the sample size of each analytical test portion, we were able to reduce the total number of analyses they had to perform to determine the extent and location of the contamination, while confirming the results with two different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay methods.

The Results
Once the affected bags of product were identified, we helped the customer rule out various sources of the contamination and performed testing to determine that it was due to the transport of open containers of raw materials through areas close to where milk powder had been used in production. In the end, the offending bags were isolated and the remaining uncontaminated bags were able to be salvaged, saving the company thousands of dollars in unnecessary waste.

The Expedited Expertise You Need
Bia Diagnostics is available to assist all organizations with their HACCP plans for food allergen screening and label verification. Bia Laboratory is ISO 17025 accredited and AOAC, Good Laboratory Practices, and Good Manufacturing Practices compliant. The company’s food diagnostics facility, located in beautiful Vermont, brings over 50 years of laboratory experience and nearly 30 years of food allergen testing expertise. Using state-of-the-art technologies in food analysis, Bia offers the most reliable, highest quality results possible. By specializing in food allergens, the company can offer rapid turnaround times, including same-day analysis, at no extra cost. Clients receive Certificates of Analysis for each sample as well as complete data reduction.

Partnering with You to Find the Best Solutions
With so many ingredient, flavor, and preservative combinations possible, food matrices can be very complex. Bia Diagnostics works closely with your team to develop a customized plan to meet your specific testing needs. This can include evaluation and validation of the method with each specific matrix that the assay would encounter in your facility, thus ensuring the most accurate results and avoiding costly recalls.

At the Service of Our Customers and the Scientific Community
Customer service is the keystone of Bia Diagnostics’s corporate mission. To that end, the company prides itself on providing fast and reliable responses to client needs, including unparalleled service and the development of personal relationships with all customers, regardless of size.

Bia Diagnostics strives to be a caring and active member of the scientific community by conducting independent and collaborative research to further the understanding of food allergen safety and of the community. By authoring scientific papers and presenting at scientific conferences such as AOAC International, International Food Technology Association, and the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Bia works each day to develop innovative tools to help food manufacturers produce the safest products for even the most allergen-sensitive consumers.

fAnd now, Bia Diagnostics has added real-time PCR testing for food authenticity and detection of genetically modified organisms to the services offered. The company is available to assist all organizations with their HACCP plans for food allergen screening and label verification.

Bia Diagnostics is your partner in product quality control! It is your lab!