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Immunoassay Kit Used to Detect the Presence of Bovine Material in Processed Foods

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The Tepnel™ Bio Kit for the detection of beef in cooked foods was assessed to determine its validity in demonstrating if food being imported into New Zealand contains beef material. The test suffered no interference from the presence of other common nonbovine species meats accepted as food within New Zealand and it detected beef in cooked samples of mixed meats when the proportion of beef in the mixture was >2 or >1%, depending on other meat species present. The documentation supplied with the kit indicates that the specific proteins it measures in cooked beef are stable to 130°C. This was confirmed in the literature when the kit was used to test meat and bone meal cooked to at least 133°C. However, our results showed these proteins to be much less stable when heated to elevated temperatures in moist food under pressure, and samples containing beef ceased to be positive by the immunoassay test after being autoclaved to 121°C. This suggests that the test may not be able to detect even relatively high levels of beef in low-acid canned foods, which are normally retorted under pressure to approximately 121°C.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Christchurch Science Centre, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Research Ltd., PO Box 29 181, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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