The popular gluten-detecting device, Nima Sensor, has nearly disappeared overnight after being acquired by a medical device company. Is Nima Sensor going out of business? Why can’t users purchase capsules? Will Nima be another victim of the pandemic? This article will attempt to explain it all. Please note that Good For You Gluten Free used to work in paid collaboration with Nima Sensor. Please see my disclosures.
In early May, I learned the founders of Nima Sensor sold their business to Medline, a leading medical device company. In June 2020, Nima Sensor founder, Shireen Yates, made the announcement “official” in an email to Nima Sensor customers.
She wrote, “I’m delighted to share that Nima has been acquired by one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of healthcare products. You can continue to purchase Nima products on Amazon.”
“In Nima’s new home, we are thrilled to have found an avenue which will help realize the scale we had always envisioned for Nima,” she concluded the email, offering the reassurance we needed to know Nima would not only live on, but also that it would grow and help more people. A beautiful message indeed!
Since that fateful day, however, Nima Sensor users have not been able to purchase test capsules, which are essential to being able to use the Nima Sensor device.
This has led to a variety of frustrations, speculations, rumors and downright anger among the Nima Sensor community, most of whom have invested a lot of money in the device and now own a device rendered useless without its accompanying test capsules.
How the Nima Sensor Works
The Nima Sensor is a portable, pocket-sized gluten detecting device. To test a small portion of your food for gluten, you add a pea-sized amount of food into one of the single use test capsules. (You can also test your food for peanuts using a peanut test capsule.)
As you can see from the above photo, the test capsules are an essential component to using the Nima Sensor.
I have written extensively about the Nima Sensor in my article, 13 Things You Need to Know about the Nima Sensor, and I’ve tested dozens of restaurants for hidden gluten, which you can continue to access inside my Eating Out library.
Shortly after Medline acquired Nima Sensor, things started to go wrong, very wrong. Users could not find test capsules to purchase anywhere.
This prompted Nima Sensor users to email and message me, asking what in the world happened to Nima?
They told me their calls, emails and messages to Nima Sensor support went unanswered, and they were getting mixed messages from Medline.
I did the only thing I knew to do and that was to call Shireen Yates, one of the original Nima Sensor founders, only to find out that she didn’t know what happened either. When she sold the company, she said Medline assured her that the Nima Sensor would continue and be in good hands. She said she was just as upset and frustrated as the rest of us.
In July, she posted the following message in the Nima Sensor Users Group on Facebook:
“I no longer have any visibility into the operations of Nima (this is really hard for me!!). I, too, am now waiting for capsules! That said, I spent a lot of time with the folks who are taking the baton for the next phase of Nima and I am confident Nima is in great hands,” she wrote.
Medline was telling everyone different stories, sending confusing mixed messages about the fate of the beloved brand. Medline told most of us that Nima Sensor was out of business and that the test capsules, the exact ones that so many of us relied on, would no longer be available for purchase.
Official Statement(s) from Medline
On September 1, 2020, I emailed the Medline public relations manager. She replied within a few hours, thanking me for bringing this matter to her attention and vowing to get to the bottom of it.
On September 9, 2020, she replied to me with the following statement, “It has been a very unusual year, and the healthcare global supply chain continues to be impacted by external forces such as COVID-19. Unfortunately, these circumstances have also affected many products we distribute, including Nima. We are working to find ways to restart the Nima supply chain so that customers can access the supplies, as we know how important these products are to the lives of Nima users.”
She followed up this email with a phone call, where she reiterated the company’s official statement on the matter.
I continue to keep in touch with my contact at Medline and will add updates to this article as they become available.
In the meantime, Medline tweeted this beauty of a message a few weeks later, on September 30, 2020:
The one thing that is very clear to me in all of this is that Medline Industries is a mess and cannot get its story straight.
Dozens of people in the Nima Sensor User Group have shared their frustrating, confusing and inept conversations and communications with Medline, and most of us, at this point in time, are being told that Nima Sensor is indeed out of business.
Not All Hope is Lost
A few days ago I received a confidential message from someone close to Nima Sensor (original team) asking me for my contact at Medline.
Will this person have success at getting to the bottom of this debacle? Will someone be able to rescue Nima Sensor from the inept hands of Medline? My hope is that yes, one day Nima will live on.
Further, I find it extremely confusing why a company would spend money to acquire a popular product only to cancel the product from the start. This gives me hope that what happened to Nima is simply another Covid-related tragedy that will someday resolve itself when the world is released from the grips of this pandemic. My hope is that, one day, Medline will resuscitate Nima Sensor.
For these reasons, I’m not giving up on Nima.
Because you made it to the very end of this article, I want you to know that I still have 20 rare Nima Sensor test capsules left in my collection.
Are there any products you want me to test? If so, please let me know and I’ll test them for you until I run out of capsules. Simply leave a comment on this article to let me know what you’d like me to test. If it’s possible for me to do, I will.