NZ gluten-free boom prompts new testing service

NZ gluten-free boom prompts new testing service

Hill Laboratories technologist, Sam Marengo, was appointed to develop the ELISA gluten testing methodology at Hill Laboratories.

New Zealand’s largest privately owned testing laboratory, Hill Laboratories, has announced it is offering a gluten testing service with the fastest turnaround-time in the Country.

The company has introduced the service in response to the rapid increase in consumer demand for gluten free products, which according to Coeliac New Zealand Incorporated, is increasing in NZ by an estimated 26% annually-1.

Technologist, Sam Marengo, said Hill Laboratories developed the test to ensure those purchasing gluten-free products can correctly label their gluten free foods for the benefit of consumers.

“More and more Kiwi consumers are avoiding the ingredient due to gluten intolerance or simply dietary preference,” Marengo said.

“As a result of more Kiwi’s going gluten free, manufacturers and retailers across the country are feeling the pressure to respond with gluten free products.

“Supermarkets now dedicate whole aisles to gluten free products and more cafes and restaurants offer gluten free food.

Marengo says the turnaround time for Hill Laboratories’ gluten testing service is 5 days, which is between 2 and 5 days faster than its competitors.

“This service will enable manufacturers, retailers, local cafés and restaurants to accurately label their products and check for cross-contamination.

“By utilising our gluten testing service, manufacturers, retailers, local cafés and restaurants across New Zealand can label their products appropriately, for this important gluten free audience.” Marengo said

According to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, manufacturers who label foods “gluten free” must not contain detectable gluten (no more than three parts per million)2.

“When a manufacturer tests with us, they can find out whether their food adheres to the Code, and therefore ensure they have the correct labelling,” Marengo said.

“In turn, consumers can be sure that what they are purchasing is indeed gluten free and safe for them to eat.”

Marengo was appointed to Hill Laboratories in March this year specifically to develop the gluten testing methodology.

She has spent the last five years working as a molecular biologist in laboratories and developing tests for the Food and Water Industries across Brazil, Australia, England and New Zealand.

“At Hill Labs, we have used what’s called the ‘ELISA’ testing methodology. The method is used in the food industry worldwide to test for allergens such as gluten, nuts and egg.”

Hill Laboratories has spent the last five months testing and validating the methodology with a small handful of clients in order to ensure accurate results.

“We are thrilled with the results and look forward to enabling more manufacturers and retailers across the country, to utilise this service.”

Hill Laboratories is offering its new gluten testing service across the country now. Following Hill Laboratories’ launch of gluten free testing, the company plans to roll out more allergen testing.

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