Gliadin / Gluten
Food allergens are proteins which are absorbed from the human digestive tract. Even traces of allergenic substances in food can cause undesirable to life-threatening reactions in people with allergies.
Worldwide, approximately 2% of the population is affected by allergies. According to surveys, a far larger portion of the population suffers from food allergies. The severity of the allergy depends also from the constitution of the person. The allergy can be improved or worsened during life.
Allergens which are used as food ingredients must be labeled
The allergic person needs to know the ingredients for every food, in order to assess whether it is safe for him/her. Especially hidden allergens may pose problems in processed foods but can also occur through unintentional contamination during storage or production. To protect the consumer against unwanted ingestion of allergens in food, the food labeling regulation in the European Union was put in place in the year 2000 and continuously updated (2000/13/EC, 2003/89/EC, 2005/26/EC, 2006/142/EC, 2007/68/EC). Since 25th November 2005 food manufacturers are obliged under the EU Directive 2003/89/EC to label ingredients that can trigger food allergies. Annex IIIa of the Directive contains a list of foods and ingredients that elicit allergies and intolerances, e.g. gluten / gliadin (cereals), crustacean, egg, fish, peanut, soya, milk, nuts, sulfite. Other countries around the world adopted similar labeling regulations, adapting them to their requirements.
Guarantee safe food for allergic persons
Food safety is a key criterion for allergic persons to be able to eat without health problems. Food must be tested for health-impairing substances. Therefore, it is essential to use a reliable allergen analysis. Both immunochemical methods and molecular biological technologies can be applied.
In food processing companies the main components of quality control is to check for cross-contamination in raw materials and production lines as well as the correct labeling of food.