Are current analytical methods suitable to verify VITAL® 2.0/3.0 allergen reference doses for EU allergens in foods?

Thomas Holzhauser, Philip Johnson, James P. Hindley, Gavin O'Connor, Chun Han Chan, Joana Costa, Christiane K. Fæste, Barbara J. Hirst, Francesca Lambertini, Michela Miani, Marie Claude Robert, Martin Röder, Stefan Ronsmans, Zsuzsanna Bugyi, Sándor Tömösközi, Simon D. Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Food allergy affects up to 6% of Europeans. Allergen identification is important for the risk assessment and management of the inadvertent presence of allergens in foods. The VITAL® initiative for voluntary incidental trace allergen labeling suggests protein reference doses, based on clinical reactivity in food challenge studies, at or below which voluntary labelling is unnecessary. Here, we investigated if current analytical methodology could verify the published VITAL® 2.0 doses, that were available during this analysis, in serving sizes between 5 and 500 g. Available data on published and commercial ELISA, PCR and mass spectrometry methods, especially for the detection of peanuts, soy, hazelnut, wheat, cow's milk and hen's egg were reviewed in detail. Limit of detection, quantitative capability, matrix compatibility, and specificity were assessed. Implications by the recently published VITAL® 3.0 doses were also considered. We conclude that available analytical methods are capable of reasonably robust detection of peanut, soy, hazelnut and wheat allergens for levels at or below the VITAL® 2.0 and also 3.0 doses, with some methods even capable of achieving this in a large 500 g serving size. Cow's milk and hen's egg are more problematic, largely due to matrix/processing incompatibility. An unmet need remains for harmonized reporting units, available reference materials, and method ring-trials to enable validation and the provision of comparable measurement results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111709
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Allergen detection
  • Allergen quantification
  • Mass spectrometry
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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