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Croote, D., Quake, S.R. Food allergen detection by mass spectrometry: the role of systems biology. npj Syst Biol Appl. 2016 Sep 29; 2:16022.

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Validation of a mass spectrometry-based method for milk traces detection in baked food

Cristina, L., Elena, A., Davide, C., Marzia, G., Lucia, D., Cristiano, G., Marco, A., Carlo, R., Laura, C., Gabriella, G.M.

Food chemistry (2016), 199, 119--127 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.11.130


A simple validated LC–MS/MS-based method was set up to detect milk contamination in bakery products, taking the effects of food processing into account for the evaluation of allergen recovery and quantification. Incurred cookies were prepared at eight levels of milk contamination and were cooked to expose all milk components, including allergenic proteins, to food processing conditions. Remarkable results were obtained in term of sufficiently low LOD and LOQ (1.3 and 4mg/kg cookies, respectively). Precision was calculated as intra-day repeatability (RSD in the 5–20% range) and inter-day repeatability (4days; RSD never exceeded 12%). The extraction recovery values ranged from 20% to 26%. Method applicability was evaluated by analysing commercial cookies labelled either as “milk-free” or “may contain milk”. Although the ELISA methodology is considered the gold standard for detecting allergens in foods, this robust LC–MS/MS approach should be a useful confirmatory method for assessing and certifying “milk-free” food products.