Nima, the Portable Food Testing DeviceTricia Thompson
Gluten Free Watchdog receives at least one question each week about Nima asking our opinion on the testing device. Included below is the email sent to subscribers to GFWD in June. You also may be interested in listening to a GFWD video about some of the complexities associated with testing food for gluten. It is available HERE.
Nima: Many of you continue to have questions about Nima, the portable food testing device in development by 6 Sensor Labs. GFWD has preordered this device. When it is available we will be sending it to the lab for side-by-side testing with the R5 ELISA. A certain number of consecutive foods sent to the lab by GFWD will be tested, following the instructions for each test.
My initial thoughts are that the Nima will have pros and cons similar to any other quick test designed for consumer use.
My expectation is that Nima will likely be helpful to:
1. Make sure that noodles, breads, etc. are gluten-free versus wheat-based when eating away from home
2. Check for the presence of gluten in foods eaten away from home when any gluten is likely to be evenly distributed:
a. Sauces and soups with added wheat flour
b. Gluten-free noodles that have been cooked in “left-over” pasta water
c. French fries coated in wheat flour
d. Rice cooked in stock containing wheat
Nima may be less helpful when assessing:
1. Foods with uneven gluten contamination:
a. Naturally gluten-free grains, including oats and foods made with these ingredients
b. Multi-ingredient products when only one of the ingredients is contaminated
c. Cross-contact during food preparation
2. Difficult food matrices:
a. Foods containing tannins and polyphenols, such as coffee, tea, spices, chocolate, buckwheat, millet
b. Foods where one or more ingredients may contain gluten that is partially broken down
These are just some initial thoughts. When testing is complete, summary findings will be available to the GFWD community. This is likely some months away. Last we heard the Nima is scheduled to ship in the fall.
For information on lateral flow “quick” tests for gluten and their limitations see http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/lateral-flow-devices-should-manufacturers-consumers-use-them-to-test-for-gluten/