Development and Validation of a Quantitative Method for Multiple Allergen Detection in Food Using Concatemer-Based Isotope Dilution Mass Spectrometry

Maxime Gavage, Kaatje Van Vlierberghe, Marc DIEU, Patricia Renard, Thierry Arnould, Marc R. De Loose, Kris Gevaert, Nathalie Gillard, Christof J. Van Poucke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Accurate food labeling is essential to protect allergic consumers. However, allergen contaminations may occur during the whole food production process. Reliable, sensitive, and robust methods for detecting multiple allergens in food are needed. OBJECTIVE: This work aims to develop and validate an LC coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) method for the detection and quantification of hazelnuts, peanuts, milk, and eggs in processed food products. METHODS: In-house-produced incurred test materials, cookies and chocolates, were used for the method development and validation. The quantification was based on the standard addition strategy using qualified reference materials as allergen protein standards and an innovative stable isotope-labeled concatemer as an internal standard. RESULTS: A method targeting 19 allergen-specific peptides was developed and validated in two laboratories, which strengthens its robustness. The AOAC INTERNATIONAL performance requirements for repeatability, intermediate precision, reproducibility, and recovery were reached for at least one peptide per allergen across both matrixes, and quantification limits complied with the action levels of the Food Industry Guide to the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL®) Program Version 3.0. CONCLUSION: The combination of incurred test materials, standard addition strategy, and stable isotope-labeled concatemer as an internal standard allowed us to develop and validate a robust method for detecting and quantifying multiple allergens in food with sufficient sensitivity to protect allergic consumers. HIGHLIGHTS: The combination of characterized incurred test material, calibration with certified reference material, a single stable isotope labelled concatemer and cross-lab validation result in the required standardization and harmonization in food allergen detection according to the stakeholders' group to assess the robustness of our method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1585-1595
Number of pages11
Journal Journal of AOAC International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022


  • Allergens, Mass spectrometry, Liquid chromatography


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    Arnould, T.


    Project: Research

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