On March 11, 2020, Samuel Godefroy of Universite Laval, co-chair of the Working Group on Allergens with Jupiter Yeung of Nestle, led a two-hour update on the current status of the group at the AOAC 2020 Midyear Meeting. Achievements to date include a Standard Method Performance Requirement (SMPR) for milk and an SMPR for peanut, both in 2018, and formation of a sub-working group to address reference materials. Challenges for the working group included the difficulty of completing the tree nuts SMPR without identified and available reference standards and materials. For Method developers, challenges include validation of methods being dependent on the availability of reference standards and materials. For SMPRs that specify a reference standard, there is no guidance on the development and preparation of testing samples.
Following this overview on reference materials gaps, Ashley Green, Melissa Phillips, and David Bunk of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) gave a presentation on the Food Protein Allergen Program which, among other things, provides reference materials and reference measurement procedures to support food protein allergen measurements. They presented their latest reference materials for tree nuts, which include new candidate reference materials for almond flour and hazelnut flour. Scientists wishing to obtain candidate tree nut materials should email the NIST Food Protein Allergen Team at [email protected]. The team also gave an update on the NIST Milk Interlaboratory Study, which had the goal of assessing measurement equivalence of milk proteins across multiple quantitative platforms (ELISA and L -MS/MS) for non-challenging samples containing milk proteins.
In a follow-on discussion, Godefroy continued the discussion on reference materials with a review of different approaches for acquiring reference materials. The session concluded with a discussion of next steps.