• CSIRO protein analytics expert, Professor Michelle Colgrave.
    CSIRO protein analytics expert, Professor Michelle Colgrave.

CSIRO scientists have developed new technology to detect gluten in any food and show which grain it comes from, helping to track any contamination in the raw ingredient supply chain, as well accuracy in pack labelling around gluten-free claims.

Current commercial tests can tell if gluten in present in a food, as well as how much, but not the grain it is from.

The CSIRO was the first to detect specific glutens in three gluten grains – wheat in 2015, barley in 2016, and oats in 2018 – and can now detect gluten in rye. CSIRO has said it has now completed the 'Grand Slam' of gluten-containing grains.

“This technology offers many applications for the food industry from helping track contamination in their raw ingredient supply chain, to improving product quality, food safety and meeting regulations,” said CSIRO protein analytics expert professor Michelle Colgrave.

“Being able to detect any protein in diverse foods and beverages will help food companies ensure that what’s in the pack is what’s on the pack, and help consumers trust pack labelling around gluten-free claims.”

“Detecting gluten proteins in their original grain is relatively simple, but when they’re in food products we buy at the supermarket and have been baked, extruded or processed in other ways with other ingredients such as salt and sugar, it is a lot more complex.”

CSIRO aims to now validate the method's ability and work with the food industry, as well as commercial testing laboratories, to help commercialise the technology.

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