For some time now, manufacturers, such as CeliAct, have been able to send their products to laboratories to be tested for gluten and other allergens. However, if someone wanted to take things into their own hands and test food, supplements or health and beauty products on their own, it simply cost too much and was too much trouble to deal with a lab.
Well, things have changed drastically in recent years.
Now testing for the presence of gluten is something that can be done at home or at a restaurant while on the go! In this blog post, we’ll fill you in on all of your options…
- The EZ Gluten® Test Kit was developed by ELISA Technologies, Inc., a laboratory that is recognized by the USDA and the FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service). It provides very high accuracy in detecting gluten at very low levels. It tests as low as 10ppm (parts per million) which is far lower than the parts per million required by most countries for a food to be considered gluten-free. It takes only ten minutes to test a food and kits are relatively inexpensive. They can be purchased in small quantities ($25 for 2 kits) or in bulk ($110 for 10 kits).
- Glutentox is another company that makes a user-friendly gluten detection kit. Their kit claims to provide results in less than twenty minutes and to be sensitive to 5ppm. It can be used for personal products as well as food. It uses G12 antibody technology and sells for $32 for two tests or $130 for ten. The G12 antibody technology not only detects gluten from wheat, barley and rye, but it also distinguishes between oats that are safe for celiac consumption and oats that are not. Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom, a fabulous gluten-free blog, reviewed this test in depth in this article.
- Gluten Flow-Through Kit is made by a British company called Imutest. It takes 10-15 minutes to conduct a test, and it tests for as low as 20ppm. This test is harder to obtain than the others.
In most cases these tests involve adding a small sample of food to a solution (sometimes pulverizing it first), shaking it up, and then either transferring the solution to a test tube and using a test strip which indicates whether or not the food is positive for gluten, or transferring a droplet of the solution to a test stick that resembles a pregnancy test.
Do-it-yourself gluten testing can be a reliable way to ensure that the food you’re eating is truly gluten-free. The standard for gluten testing is 20ppm, and this is the level most food manufacturers that test for gluten use as their guideline. Some of the at-home tests are even more sensitive than that. While some celiacs report that even foods with lower than 20ppm of gluten give them reactions, at-home tests are already capable of distinguishing foods with less than 5ppm of gluten, so they can be a good solution for the very sensitive celiac.
In case you were wondering, we use a leading commercial lab to test for gluten all the way down to 3ppm. This is the strictest test technologically available at this time.
Although controversy exists in the celiac community over what level of gluten is reasonable to consider gluten-free, any food may have microscopic amounts of cross-contamination and many celiacs will find great peace of mind in being able to test foods for gluten themselves. With at-home gluten testing you can test restaurant meals or your favorite gluten-free flours for the presence of small amounts of gluten, thereby eliminating or reducing your celiac symptoms.