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AENORlaboratorio: analysis for detecting anisakis


AENOR Laboratorio makes anisakis detection analysis available to the entire food industry. Carried out using the real-time PCR technique, and based on amplifying a specific DNA fragment, this analysis allows the unequivocal detection of pathogenic anisakis species.

The technique can be used on both fresh and processed samples, with significant advantages over traditional techniques:

  • Real-time PCR analysis is characterised by its high degree of specificity, allowing DNA detection in quantities as low as 0.005%. If only a single larva is contaminating the sample, it can be detected.
  • It can be applied to fresh, frozen or processed samples of fish, molluscs and crustaceans, even canned
  • It reduces the time needed to confirm whether the nematode is present in the analysed samples.
  • It makes it easy to handle large or thick samples, which present certain difficulties for traditional techniques, such as visual inspection, transillumination, and even acid digestion.

Anisakis larvae are able to produce two pathologies in humans. On the one hand, if the larva is swallowed alive it can adhere to the gastrointestinal mucosa producing the well-known anisakiasis (herring worm disease), which is characterised by inflammation and pain that can be accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and fever. On the other, in sensitive people, it can trigger allergic reactions as a result of coming into contact with certain proteins released by the larva.

This allergy, which has similar symptoms to that of other food allergies, can be caused both by contact with the larva and contact with the compounds released by the anisakis during the time it parasitised the fish, which are present even after the larvae have been destroyed. For this reason it is essential to use analytical techniques that allow the pathogenic species of anisakis to be unambiguously identified in fishery products.