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  • Jefferson Adams

    Are Gluten ELISA Test Kits Wildly Inaccurate?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 03/16/2016 - If you have celiac disease, particularly if you are highly sensitive to gluten exposure, you may rely on commercial ELISA test kits for gluten detection.

    Photo: CC--rafael castilloThere are a large variety of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) commercially available for gluten detection in food, including new formats and assays with antibodies against relevant gluten epitopes.



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    But, how accurate are these test kits for gluten detection? How reliable are they for people with celiac disease? A team of researchers recently set out to evaluate the accuracy of 14 ELISA kits for gluten detection. The kits they tested cover the full range of the current commercially available ELISA test kits.

    The researcher team included Ilona D. Bruins Slot, Maria G. E. G. Bremer, Ine van der Fels-Klerx, with RIKILT–Wageningen UR, Wageningen, the Netherlands, and Rob J. Hamer with the Laboratory of Food Chemistry at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands.

    In this study, the team assessed the performance of these kits in determining gluten content in a series of relevant food matrices varying in complexity.

    Their results show that none of the currently available ELISA methods can accurately detect and quantify gluten in all cases. This includes the current type I method R5 as recommended by Codex Alimentarius.

    In the face of these results, the team is calling for urgent improvements to testing kits, and recommends focusing on competitive formats, improving extraction methods, and the detection of relevant gluten peptides.

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    I personally, will not rely on any kind of test kit. For starters, I will not wait 4-5 minutes for the machine to conduct the test while my food gets cold. And, I have currently stopped eating out at establishments that are not 100% gluten free.... I am tired of getting sick.

     

    How about we focus on restaurants, their management and their staff not fully understanding the true meaning of gluten free. How about we educate the public that celiac disease is NOT a fad diet or some punchline in a comedian's skit. It is my opinion that the food industry is missing the boat when it comes to our health and their financial bottom lines. If restaurants took gluten free serous and offered truly safe food options there wouldn't be need for these inaccurate testing devices and the industry would have additional market share.

     

    If I was king, I would start a restaurant chain that offered whole, fresh food that would appeal to everyone and most importantly contained ZERO gluten. And those that need gluten free would be safe and those that did not wouldn't miss or even realize there wasn't gluten in their meal. It is really a simple concept and sort of surprised it hasn't already happened, who knows maybe one day someone researching will read this article and comment and start something.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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