If you’re not familiar with what a Nima Sensor is, it’s a portable sensor, and there are two models, capable of detecting either peanuts or gluten within foods and drinks. I obviously have a gluten one, and I’ve been using it since last September, when it was given to me as an anniversary gift by my boyfriend (he’s the best). I love mine (sensor & boyfriend). Here are the pros and cons, combined with some statistical research and dissenting opinion so you can decide once and for all what you’d like to do about it.
The Pros and Cons of the Nima Sensor
The Pros, yo
- It’s portable, about the size of a cell phone or smaller (I have an iPhoneX and it’s right about the same size, Nima is shorter and a little wider), it’s also about the same weight. I carry it around my purse all of the time, unless I’m using a clutch for a separate event.
- It detects gluten and points out where trace amounts (up to 20 parts per million) are found.
- It provides an OBVIOUS result. Wheat Stalk = bad, smiley face = good. There’s no misunderstanding that!
- It links via bluetooth to your phone to save data and allows you to record results in a free app, which other people can use to see your findings and share their test results as well.
- It’s saved me from being glutened a ton within restaurants, and because it’s “scientific” no judging dinner patrons or restaurant staff members can argue with me. Most managers are absolutely thrilled for the information to be able to better serve their customers.
The Cons, ‘mon
- It takes about 1-3 minutes to test food, which seems like 5-10-infinity minutes when you’re waiting to eat a hot plate that’s been put down in front of you. It also can make a grinding noise and shake the table, but it’s not like anyone’s going to use it in church or at a library. (This reminds me that I need to make an entirely separate post about Communion and the gluten-free ness of it).
- The sensors are expensive. They run in the $200-300 range, depending on what sale you get (sometimes they run a $99 special), and if you get a package of capsules with them. You can use the code GFNEWORLEANS15 to save $15 if you’d like to buy one, at http://www.nimasensor.com .
- The capsules are also expensive, running about $5+ a pop, and they’re a one-time use. I’m at the point where I ask for them for Christmas and Birthday gifts.
Here’s a video from today of me talking more about this as well as displaying the sensor and capsules (and spilling fish guts on my notebook, that’s what we call “lagniappe” in Louisiana for you, fans): https://www.facebook.com/glutenfreeneworleans/videos/602739400242329/
Also, here’s some video of us using the Nima to test some Gluten Free Girl Scout Cookies at our March Night Out event. Spoiler alert: they were gluten free!
Some people judge the “Science” and accuracy of this test, although I have to tell you, the science seems pretty legit to me. If you’d like to read more about how Nima works, click here: https://www.nimasensor.com/science-nima-understanding-device/
Nima was tested against other laboratories, and found to be 96.9% accurate. That’s pretty darn accurate to me, when our current method of detecting for gluten is asking a bunch of questions from people who may or may not know all the answers, crossing our fingers, and seeing if we get sick.
Here’s an article recently written about the validity of Nima, and questioning that 96.9% validity: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/1/18080666/nima-sensor-testing-fda-food-allergy-gluten-peanut-transparency-data. This was shared with the page so I’ll share it with you, but I’m sure you can find a ton just like this for or against Nima if you do your own research.
This isn’t a research page but an FYI page, and a common sense page, and to ME this makes sense as another defense. Is it the end all, be all? Of course not. But doesn’t every little thing help? Absolutely.
I’ve used Nima to test foods I eat all the time to make sure they’re safe for my continued enjoyment. I’ve used Nima to test foods at restaurants I eat at all the time when I knew something wasn’t right. I’ve used Nima to test foods at restaurants I’m visiting for the first time. I have to tell you, in cases where I ate a bite before testing, the tester has always matched what my body told me about the food, so from now on I test BEFORE taking a bite.
I think the issue is not if this device is 100% accurate, how much it is, who made it, who they work for, or what their motivations were for creating the device. I think the only issue is if the device can prevent us from eating food that is full of gluten, that we might not have otherwise caught. And it does.
To order a Nima Sensor, go here and use the code GFNEWORLEANS15. Again, I don’t make anything from Nima for the referral, it’s just a service we provide people who use this page — and honestly, I’d love for as many people as possible to use the code so that Nima starts allowing me to blog for New Orleans foods like they’ve done in so many other cities.
To LIVING Gluten Free in New Orleans,