Choose the right swab. Swabs must remove protein residues that may adhere to equipment surfaces, but must also be adsorbent. Swabs must also release the proteins back into an extraction solution. The swabs provided with commercial kits, such as the environmental swabs from Neogen, outperform regular cotton swabs.
Sponges should be avoided for allergen testing, as they tend to hold on to proteins, failing to release them into extraction solutions. Furthermore, some sponges may contain microbial growth media made from allergenic foods such as milk and soy.
Choose the most appropriate test method. The choice of an LFD that fits your purpose is relatively straightforward: It must be able to detect the allergen residues in the product matrix of concern. Essentially, will the LFD detect residues on the equipment surface before cleaning?