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Mustard contamination is a hot topic

There have been numerous discussions on allergens in wheat flour in recent months. The two in question are soya and mustard, and enquiries are coming from both customers and the food safety regulator.

Soya is a longstanding topic of discussion. Its presence in flour is known and accounted for, but changes to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) risk assessment are going to affect decisions by businesses on whether to add a ‘may contain soya’ label or not. The milling industry has been closely engaging the FSA on this matter and it is hoped there will be clarity soon.

Mustard is a newer issue, following reports of cross-contamination of wheat in Italy affecting the 2021 crop.

Mustard is relatively difficult to test in wheat flour, as the simpler (and cheaper) testing methods give false positive results owing to the presence of oilseed rape protein – something you would expect to find at low levels in wheat. UFKM commissioned some testing of flour samples for mustard DNA and will use these data to update the industry position on this allergen.

At the moment, there appears to be no credible source of genuine mustard cross-contamination and it is thought the positive results being seen in Italy are due to testing issues, but further work is needed to understand this.


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