Nima Labs Inc.

When Gluten-Free Isn't Gluten Free

gluten-free cupcakes that weren't gluten free
“gluten-free” cupcakes

Our CEO Shireen often talks about how Nima has already saved her from unintentionally eating gluten in supposedly gluten-free foods. This story is one of those instances.

Getting “glutened” takes many different forms, depending on each individual. For Shireen, unknowingly eating gluten means a lot of pain, days of recovery and missed work. These unintented exposures are what inspired her to create Nima.

Now that we’ve had a couple test units of Nima built in-house ahead of manufacturing, Shireen’s been able to carry Nima around with her and add some peace of mind when she’s eating food she hasn’t prepared herself. She loves seeing Nima smiling back at her.

On this particular day, Nima was hosting an event in our office and ordered gluten-free cupcakes from a local bakery. We were told that the kitchen is not a dedicated, 100% gluten-free kitchen, but they did in fact make gluten-free cupcakes.

They came in so many different flavors and looked delicious. Before she took a bite, Shireen decided to test a bit of the cupcake, just in case.

After about two minutes, Nima displayed a frown. After additional testing out of curiosity, we found that the cupcake had more than 80 ppm of gluten. 80 ppm! Just as a reminder, for a packaged good to be labeled gluten-free, it has to have less than 20 ppm of gluten. That means these cupcakes were four times the amount of gluten to be considered gluten-free. Shireen would have been out of commission for a few days had she eaten that cupcake.

We don’t know if we were given the wrong cupcakes or if there was just that much cross-contamination in the kitchen, but these cupcakes were clearly not gluten-free, regardless of how they were labeled.

Eating gluten-free is tricky – and people have these kind of experiences all the time, where they have to guess at what may have made them sick or are just waiting to see if they’ll have a reaction. This time, Shireen was able to enjoy the rest of her day and do her presentations with no worry.

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