A simple test for gluten from wheat, barley, rye and oat.

How many times do you find yourself staring at what’s on your plate, wondering if it’s safe? Maybe Aunt Susie promises the cake she baked is gluten-free. Or one of your favorite pre-diagnosis foods doesn’t have any red flags, but it isn’t labeled or certified gluten-free. Perhaps you suspect something in your cabinet is causing a reaction, but you aren’t sure what.

Enter GlutenTox Home, an easy test kit that finds gluten in foods, drinks, personal care products, and even on countertops. And the best part? You can do the test at home, no lab equipment required.

GlutenTox Home detects the toxic fragment of gluten in wheat, barley, rye and oat, so that you know if something is unsafe for people with celiac disease. You can set the test to detect 20ppm or 5ppm, whichever you prefer.

Start to finish, the process takes 10-20 minutes — so it isn’t for use at a restaurant or for every meal. When it comes to spot-checking ingredients, proofing special-occasion foods, or ferreting out those last traces of gluten in your home, though, it’s ideal.

Essentially, the steps are:

  1. Drop a spoonful of whatever you’re testing into the yellow-capped vial.
  2. Shake for 2 minutes and let settle for 5.
  3. Drop a few drops of the solution into the blue-capped vial and give it a quick mix.
  4. Drop a few drops from the new solution onto what looks like a pregnancy test. (Really, it does.)
  5. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then read results: a pink line means gluten above the threshold you chose to test to. If the item is high in gluten, you’ll see the pink line appear in as little as 60 seconds.

The “magic ingredient” is an antibody called G12, which was developed to identify the 33-mer peptide of the alpha-gliadin molecule: the part that’s most toxic to those with celiac disease. Because the antibody is so specific, the test is ideal for use with hydrolyzed, fermented or heat-treated foods whose molecules get all broken up and rearranged.

It’s also the only antibody proven to detect toxicity in certain strains of oat (not just from cross-contamination, but also inside the oat itself). If you’re curious, you can read more about the G12 oat study on celiac.com or the study itself as published in Gut Journal.

Of course, you don’t have to test oats or hydrolyzed foods. You could also test plain old wheat flour or your favorite lipstick, if you wanted to. Or a kitchen counter-top, to make sure your prep surface was clean (some modifications required).

But where to get GlutenTox Home?

For now, GlutenTox Home is primarily available online at glutentox.com – but if you’d like your local natural food store or healthy shop to carry it, ask them! GlutenTox Home will also be available at the Vendor Fair of the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Dallas this weekend, for those of you in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A couple of other odds and ends to share with you:

  • Heidi over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom and Teri over at the Gluten Free Cooking section of About.com both reviewed the kit, if you’d like an outside perspective.
  • If you have a medically-diagnosed need for a gluten-free diet, GlutenTox Home is a qualified expense. You can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account to purchase it with pre-tax dollars.
  • GlutenTox Home isn’t just for homes; it’s also used by many commercial kitchens, restaurants with GF menus, manufacturers of GF foods, etc. If there’s a kitchen in your area that you think could use this extra precaution, refer them to GlutenTox and you’ll see a special thanks in your inbox (details here).

If you’ve had a chance to check out GlutenTox Home, what did you think?