Food intolerance tests slammed as a 'waste of time and cash'
Consumers have been warned not to waste their money on commercial food intolerance tests.
The only valid and safe way to diagnose food intolerance is to eliminate foods following medical advice, according to the country's medicines watchdog.
The expert guidance will allow the patient to reintroduce a suspected food on a phased basis and find out if it is the culprit, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) review said.
HPRA chief Lorraine Nolan said: "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.
"People should not rely on the results of these test kits on their own, regardless of how they are labelled and promoted."
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.
A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy.
Intolerance is difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction.
A food allergy is when the body's immune system reacts unusually to specific foods, such as nuts. This can be life-threatening.
The warning is not to do a DIY removal of a range of foods from your diet without expert advice.
This could lead to nutritional deficiencies and impaired growth in children, which can have important long-term health consequences.