Recently Healther Crawford, a reporter for First Coast News, asked me to help identify some area chain restaurants that have gluten-free menus to test the EZ Gluten test strips’ ability to detect gluten in food. EZ Gluten test strips are created by Eliza Technologies. According to their website, these test strips are easy to use and help detect the presence of gluten in foods and beverages.
I had so much fun, it was like a progressive dinner with friends you just met.
Heather and the videographer, Ed, were so fun and I really enjoyed their company.
- Spicy chicken and beef and broccoli at PF Chang’s.
- Loaded baked potato soup, spicy chicken and sausage soup, margarita chicken with rice and beans and mashed potatoes at Chili’s
- Bards beer and gluten-free pepperoni pizza at Mellow Mushroom Jacksonville Beach.
The results: the mashed potatoes at Chili’s tested positive for gluten. To the credit of Chili’s, they do have a disclaimer on their gluten-free menu.
After our testing, we made our way to my kitchen!
My thoughts on the night:
1. Each test takes 20 minutes. I seriously doubt many people will have the patience to wait 20 minutes to eat their food while they are waiting on the test results to come in. Their website states 10 minutes, but each kit we used took 20 minutes from start to finish.
2. The kits are quite expensive. You can purchase 2 for $25 or 5 for $60 off the website.
3. There may be some testing errors. This was the first time any of us have ever used the kits and we only sampled one part of the food. The kit allows for a small sample, so to test multiple parts of the food would take the use of multiple kits. For the purposes of the report it was not practical to use multiple kits to test more than one part of the food. However, every effort was made to include as much of the food in the small testing spoon that came with the kit.
4. If you are using these test strips in a public place, you will get some interesting looks. The kit has a few stages you have to complete that involves mixing and letting things sit for certain amounts of time.
5. There still may trace amounts of gluten that the kit doesn’t account for. It tests as low as 10ppm.
Have you ever used these kits before? What are your thoughts?