Gluten Free Watchdog Position Statement on Consumer Use of the Nima Sensor to Test Food for Gluten

Gluten Free Watchdog Position Statement on Consumer Use of the Nima Sensor to Test Food for Gluten

Bottom line:

At Gluten Free Watchdog we have been testing a wide variety of products with the Nima Sensor. It is very difficult to put the results of testing completed to date into proper context due to the lack of a published validation report on this device. One goal of our testing is to provide recommendations for consumer use of the Nima Sensor. This is proving to be impossible at this time. In the opinion of Gluten Free Watchdog the Nima Sensor was released into the marketplace prematurely. Given the current state of development of this sensor, Gluten Free Watchdog cannot support its use by the gluten-free community at this time.

A few emerging themes from the approximately 50 products tested: 

  1. Five products testing low gluten (four labeled gluten-free, including one certified gluten-free by GFCO) with the Nima tested below the limit of detection of 1 part per million when tested with the R5 ELISA.
  1. Barley grain and barley flour tested low gluten.
  1. Recalled gluten-free Cheerios, regular Quaker Oats, and gluten-free rice crackers placed on top of wheat-based bread crumbs all tested smile.
  1. Diluting mustard containing wheat flour with water (as recommended by the Nima website for brightly/intensely colored foods) changed the test result from high gluten to low gluten.

Note: Gluten Free Watchdog is continuing to evaluate this device. We will update our position statement when warranted.

 

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Comments (5)

  • Nick Reply

    I’ve been reading some of your work with this and really appreciate it – it’s a service to the community. I’ve been curious of if it seems like it *mostly* gets it right, but with some error in both directions (false positives and false negatives), or if it seems unreliable entirely. There’s definitely still an argument about its usefulness at any level of accuracy, but if it’s missing randomly in all directions, I’d say there’s no value, but if it gets most things right with misses in both directions, I’d say there’s value with caution – I appreciate that you’ve stuck to the facts thus far, and am just curious about what percent agreement you have with the testing you’ve done and the Nima. Thank you!

    May 13, 2017 at 12:52 am
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Nick, Thanks for your kind comments. I’ve personally run approximately 50 tests using the Nima. The full report, including all test results is available to subscribers after login at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/product/position-statement-on-the-nima-sensor-report-4/588. All products testing low gluten were sent to the lab for testing using the R5 ELISA. They all tested below the limit of quantification of 5 ppm and all but one tested below the limit of detection of 1 ppm gluten. The results for these 6 products are either false positives OR this device has an exceedingly low limit of detection. When it comes to testing food products with spotty gluten contamination, such as oats or other “naturally gluten-free” grain foods or foods that may have touched a contaminated surface, this device can not be relied upon. A miniscule amount of product is tested from a non homogenized sample. This is very very far from being adequate. Testing continues and I will be commenting more down the road.

      May 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm
      • Nick Reply

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I’ve been considering becoming a subscriber (only thing holding me back is that I’m trying to save some money right now!), so I appreciate you providing additional information here.

        May 16, 2017 at 2:56 am
  • Michele Reply

    Hello! Any update on the Nima? I have a son in college who was contaminated multiple times last year as a freshman. I would be happy to purchase it if I thought it was reliable. Thank you for the comparative testing!

    August 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

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