Can I test meals myself in restaurants (Nima)?
There are companies that produce testing kits to test the level of gluten in ready prepared foods. Nima is a recently marketed device aimed at testing levels of gluten in meals served in restaurants.
Many people would like to be able to have the option of using such a test but it is important to consider what the test is looking for and how samples are tested.
Reliability of products like this should always be considered because the user may not maintain control of the conditions needed for accurate testing. For example, testing a small sample of a certain meal will not necessarily represent the gluten content of the complete meal. It is also important to make sure that all gluten is extracted from a food before testing using the chemicals provided. It is therefore very important to follow the manufacturers’ guidance on using the test kits.
Nima was launched in January 2017 in the US. To date, neither validation of the methodology or data regarding the accuracy have been independently reviewed by experts and published. We have been in contact with Nima for information on how the test works and at present we have not received a clear response on how the test works and its level of accuracy. When the information on the validation is available we will be looking at the evidence carefully to assess whether the product will be a useful tool for people with coeliac disease. Until then we would not recommend this product.