Nima testing at Jimmy John’s

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Jimmy John’s has the option of having their sandwiches prepared as “Unwiches” in which they wrap the contents in large lettuce leaves. They’re actually quite tasty (though made with cured lunch meats, another issue).

Problem: If you watch the workers behind the counter preparing the sandwiches, you can see that the work surface is the very same one used to create bread-wrapped sandwiches—cross-contamination is virtually guaranteed. This is clearly an issue for those of you with exceptional gliadin/gluten sensitivities, such as anyone with celiac disease, cerebellar ataxia, or autoimmune conditions.

I am not among the most exceptionally sensitive and can tolerate such low-grade cross-contamination exposures. I have had an occasional Unwich at Jimmy John’s and not had an adverse reaction. And, in their defense, they make no claims that their Unwiches are gluten-free.

Nonetheless, I was curious if an Unwich would test positive on the Nima device. So I ran two samples—one from the lettuce covering, another from pieces of meat and cheese. Surprise: It tested negative.

Now please do not interpret this observation to mean that every Unwich will test negative. It could also be that gluten residues were indeed present but simply not present in the limited samples I tested which were after all, just pieces of the lettuce and interior meat and cheese, but not the entire sandwich. (I know of no way to test the entire sandwich.) But I share this with everyone just to suggest that, unless you have an exceptional gluten sensitivity, these Unwiches can serve as a reasonable and safe choice for those of us who are not exceptionally sensitive to cross-contamination to grain components.

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