Survey of undeclared egg allergen levels in the most frequently recalled food types (including products bearing precautionary labelling)

<p>Since the number of recalls involving undeclared allergens is commonly associated with bakery and snack foods, we aimed to determine the frequency of egg allergens in a large number of these products using two commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods. Samples were chosen that either had no egg identified on the product label or which had an egg precautionary statement. Among all samples, egg protein was detected in 5% of products using a Morinaga (MO) kit and 1% of products using a R-Biopharm (RB) kit. For bakery samples, egg protein was detected in 6% of 363 samples with no precautionary labelling (6% by MO and 1% by RB kit) and 12% of 80 samples which had precautionary labelling. For snack samples, egg protein was detected in 2% of 371 samples with no precautionary labelling (2% by MO and < 1% by RB kit) and 5% of 21 samples which had precautionary labelling. The disagreement rates between two methods were 5.2% for bakery products and 2.6% for snack products. The sample repeatability was at an acceptable level for bakery (< 12.5%) and snack foods (< 7.5%) for each method. The relative standard deviation between test kits was high (103.1%) for bakery foods. Four bakery products without precautionary labelling had a higher level of egg protein per serving compared with the eliciting dose (ED<sub>10</sub> of 3.7 mg protein) for egg allergic patients. These results highlight the fact that detection methodology plays a vital role for accurate labelling control and mitigation of risk for egg allergic consumers.</p>