Do Food Intolerance Tests Work?

Nov 29, 2012, 06:00 ET from

YORK, England, November 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

There are now many different diagnostic tests available outside of the conventional medical system (the NHS in the UK). These include many different tests for food intolerance including vega testing, kinesiology, hair "body field analysis" testing, cytotoxic and live blood testing. The growing market is driven by increasing personal interest in health, clinical need as many chronic conditions are not being treated, limitations of the conventional medical system and direct customer demand. Doctors and medical practitioners can be justified in dismissing test results that originate from services such as 'mail order laboratory testing services', as there is currently no way for them to distinguish between those results which have an evidence base with clinical data, and those that claim results without any real evidence.

How are individuals meant to tell the difference between the plethora of diagnostic tests that are available to them? How can they tell those based on good science and those that have no basis is science? It is a difficult task. Consumers should be able to take more responsibility, and have access to tests that can empower them, not potentially damage them. In order to show that results from a specific diagnostic test are meaningful, and can be interpreted and acted upon accurately and effectively, it is absolutely essential that food intolerance tests undergo rigorous evaluation to make sure that they perform well enough to provide accurate and reproducible information.

For the first time, guidance has been issued to help people ask the right questions of diagnostic test providers. The checklist has been welcomed by food intolerance test suppliers YorkTest Laboratories. Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director at YorkTest Laboratories commented saying: "The food intolerance testing industry has been given a bad name by suppliers of tests that have absolutely no basis in science. YorkTest have been offering food intolerance testing services for over 30 years and have helped many thousands of people over the years find relief from symptoms such as IBS, bloating, migraines, fatigues, itchy skin, low mood and weight gain. Our clinical data speaks for itself and we are pleased to now see measures being put in place that can distinguish our services from those that do not meet the criteria on the checklist."

The checklist, originally published in the journal Nutrition Practitioner, includes the following pointers:-

  • Check whether the test supplier is audited annually by the UK Health Authority (the MHRA) or is CPA (Clinical Pathology Accredited). Also ensure that the tests and sample collection methods have been CE marked. The supplier should be able to provide their certificates.
  • Check that the test is accurate (what evidence exists?); has the test been referenced or calibrated against a recognised international standard? If no 'gold standard reference point' exists then clinical studies to show effectiveness must be provided.
  • Look out for real case studies and testimonials to show that the test works in practice, and can be interpreted correctly.  Talk to other people that have used the test and find out about their experience.
  • Check that the supplier has evidence that the sample (for example a blood sample) is stable during transport to the laboratory. Also ask for the supplier to provide reproducibility data.

Dr Gill Hart continued: "Being able to question the suppliers of diagnostic tests will help people to feel confident to really tackle their food intolerance symptoms, knowing that their targeted action is based on good sound information."

To help identify food intolerances, help is at hand from YorkTest Laboratories, Europe's leading provider of food and drink intolerance testing with over 30 years' experience. The YorkTest food and drink intolerance test called Food&DrinkScan can uncover potential food and drink triggers, allowing people to simply modify their diets with life changing health benefits.

Food&DrinkScan measures IgG antibody reactions to 158 foods and also ingredients found in beverages. Food&DrinkScan is available to buy online or by phone for £299.

Unlike other many basic tests available, YorkTest customers will be fully supported with their dietary changes. Food&DrinkScan offers comprehensive patient support that includes:

  • Two telephone consultations with a BANT[1] registered nutritional therapist who will offer specific individual advice
  • Help on how to incorporate the recommended diet changes
  • A 12 week food diary with diet tips to help sufferers keep track of the changes they are making to their diet.

Food&DrinkScan can be purchased from or by calling free phone 0800 074 6185.


1. British Association of Nutritional Therapists

Notes to Editors

YorkTest nutritional helpline service: 0800 074 6185 offers a free intolerance advisory service with access to BANT registered nutritionists, available to anyone wanting to discuss concerns, or find out more about food intolerance.  

The YorkTest is a simple finger-prick home-to-laboratory service, which offers a solution to identifying up to 158 problem 'trigger foods'. The YorkTest also includes two telephone consultations with a qualified nutritionist who will offer specific individual advice and help on how to incorporate the recommended diet changes. A 12 week food diary with diet tips will also be provided to help sufferers keep track of the changes they are making to their diet.

A First Step Test is available for the offer price of £9.99 (usually £19.99).  Following the First Step, if your result is positive you can then progress to either the FoodScan, which tests for intolerances to 113 trigger foods for £250, or the full Food&DrinkScan for £299.

About Gill:

Dr Gill Hart PhD is a Biochemist with over twenty-five years experience in the development and clinical evaluation of diagnostic tests.

Gill started her career as Senior Biochemist at the Hammersmith Hospital and subsequently worked for a number of companies specialising in the development and validation of diagnostic tests for hospital use. Gill joined the YorkTest team in 2005, and has applied her scientific and regulatory knowledge to all YorkTest services; including putting in measures of 'self-regulation' in the under-regulated 'diagnostic testing services' industry.