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Inter-laboratory trial of a method for detecting undeclared addition of blood-based meat binding agents to foods - FA0107

A liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method (LC MS/MS) was successfully developed (FSA project Q01093) to detect the use of blood-based gelling agents of bovine and porcine origin, in raw and cooked meat and fish. The ‘meat glue’, are cold-setting protein gels, extracted from bovine and porcine blood. The binding agent is a fibrinogen-enriched plasma from the blood, which is mixed with thrombin to coagulate and bind fragments and off-cuts of meat or fish together. The use of the blood protein thrombin, sold under the trade name ‘Fibrimex’ is no longer permitted.

The aim of this project is to validate the original method to ensure that the method is suitable for enforcement use. The project will be split into two phases; in-house validation involving stability testing of the fibrinopeptides under different conditions and using different types of meat; and an inter-laboratory trial to ensure that equivalent results are obtained when different labs use the methods.

The inter-laboratory trial will take place between UK and international labs, and the optimised method will be performed to ensure the protocol meets the specifications. This will include analysis of spiked food samples, and establishing limit of detection using the different instruments. The outcome will be a fully validated standard operating procedure for the extraction of fibrinopeptides and the detection and determination of species of origin of any blood-binding agents that are present in raw and cooked food.
Objective 1 Preparation of test samples and preparation of inter-laboratory trial (2 months)
Objective 2 Stability testing (7 months)
Objective 3 Inter-laboratory trial Round 1 (4 months)
Objective 4 Inter-laboratory trial Round 2 – determination of the limit of detection (5 months)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £59,577
Contractor / Funded Organisations
The Food & Environment Research Agency