In Episode 6, we concentrated on allergen-specific lateral-flow devices, in this final episode we’ll be doing the same just for total protein indicators.
What are they?
Total protein indicators or total protein swabs are designed to detect protein on equipment surfaces. They cannot discriminate between allergenic and non-allergenic proteins, but the rationale is, if a surface is protein-free, it is reasonable to infer that it will also be allergen-free. The swabs are easy to use, sensitive, cost-effective and practical if you are controlling multiple allergens.
Generally, the kits only have one or two components, the test devices, each housing a swab and its testing liquid as well as a bottle of wetting buffer, if the swabs have not been pre-wetted.
There are three simple steps, which include:
- Sample collection,
- test activation, and
Systems that can detect protein at very low concentrations require swabs to be incubated in a dry incubation block.
In the video, there is a demonstration of a popular total protein indicator test.
When collecting samples do not focus on flat, easy-to-clean surfaces, rather take swab samples from hard-to-clean areas and accumulation points. Swabbing in such places will give you a better idea of whether the equipment was properly cleaned.
At the end of the test, you can determine whether the protein was present by comparing the colour of the liquid at the bottom of the device to the colour chart supplied.
In conclusion, total protein swabs can be a valuable, low-cost tool to assess the efficacy of allergen cleaning, especially if you need to control multiple allergens.
We hope you enjoyed our 7-part series on robust allergen management. Please feel free to contact us for any further information.