Selected Reaction Monitoring method to determine the species origin of blood-based binding agents in meats: a collaborative study

Grundy, H.; Read, W.A.; Macarthur, R.; Alewijn, M.


Binding products or food ‘glues’ are used throughout the food industry to increase the meat use rate or to augment economic efficiency. Some of these binders contain thrombin from bovine and porcine blood. The European parliament has recently banned thrombin-based additives and labelling legislation governs their use in the US. A mass spectrometry screening method is available to detect the addition of thrombin agents to foods as there is a need to protect consumers and to avoid misleading trade practices. We report the details of an inter-laboratory trial to determine the transferability of this method to operators in various food testing laboratories, each using a different triple quadrupole mass spectrometer design. The trial was successful with the species origin of the binding agent contained in each of the forty three test materials being correctly reported by the participants. This is consistent with a false positive and false negative rate of zero percent. This is the first collaborative study, as far as we are aware, which involves a liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) application to approach a food authenticity issue.