According to researchers, nut traces can be better detected in dark chocolate and similar foods by adding a secondary clean-up step.
A study conducted by Italian researchers and recently published in the journalFood Analytical Methodsfound that adding a size-exclusion sample treatment before detecting nut traces was quick and could improve the accuracy of such tests. If their method is adopted, tests designed to detect traces of nut in foods like chocolate would become more accurate.
Dark Chocolate Reacts with Allergen Proteins
The research team wrote, “chocolate is one of the most challenging food matrices. Dark chocolate contains a large amount of polyphenolic compounds which can react with food proteins, thus masking the target protein under investigation.”
They found that an added size-exclusion sample treatment could enhance the sensitivity of existing nut allergen tests, making the chocolate safer for consumers with food allergies. The researchers explain “this method could be proposed for strict allergen quality controls of both the final products and the production lines for food manufacturers in order to protect consumer health and safety.”
If the method developed by these researchers becomes widespread, it could mean that people with nut allergies can take more confidence in eating chocolate deemed “nut-free.”