The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has warned that there is no single test to diagnose food intolerance.
The HPRA carried out a review of products on the market to examine their validity.
It has stated that products being promoted as food intolerance tests cannot diagnose food intolerance conditions and advises people not to act on the results of these tests without expert advice from a doctor or registered dietician.
Attempting to self-diagnose a suspected food intolerance using a test kit alone could potentially result in a delay in identifying and treating other medical conditions, it warned.
According to Dr Lorraine Nolan, Chief Executive, HPRA, there is no scientifically valid test to detect food intolerance and that the only valid and safe way to diagnose food intolerance is to eliminate foods following clinical advice and then reintroduce a suspected food on a phased basis to determine if symptoms return.
“Food intolerance is a term that has emerged to describe various unpleasant conditions such as indigestion and bloating that can occur after eating certain foods," she said.
"People should not rely on the results of these test kits on their own regardless of how they are labelled and promoted.
"Any examination relating to a person’s ability to digest or ‘tolerate’ foods should be made in careful consultation with a doctor or dietician. It should not be based on these tests alone as to do so could lead to a misdiagnosis or the removal of important nutrients in the diet.
"Removing a range of foods from your diet without expert advice on how this should be managed can result in nutritional deficiencies among vulnerable populations and impaired growth in children which can have important long-term health consequences."
- Digital desk