Lupin detection made easier
substance Lupin will allow bakers to use the soya-alternative
without running the risk of contravening EU law.
UK food science company Hallmark Analytical Ventures (HAV) has developed equipment to accurately detect very low levels of the legume lupin in food.
Under an EC directive which will come into force in autumn, any product containing lupin must carry a label warning consumers as it has been known to cause extreme allergic reactions - especially among peanut-allergy sufferers.
The UK's Food Standards Agency has warned peanut allergic consumers, who number 1 per cent of the UK population, to avoid products containing the substance.
Having first been introduced to the food industry as an ingredient in wheat flour in the 1990s, lupin is still favoured by bakers who use it in flour and baked goods as a high-protein alternative to soya. It is particularly prevalent in speciality breads being gluten-free and a source of essential amino acids.
In addition, flour derived from the substance can also be used to replace eggs and butter thanks to its distinctive yellow colour.
The HAVen lupin Elisa detector can pick up one part per million and is designed to be used in laboratory conditions, five ready-to-use tests are given in each kit.
It operates by establishing the protein content as a marker for lupin levels throughout the product as a whole and works at a range of between 1 to 16 parts per million, the detection limit is less than 0.25mg per kg of flour.