BLOOD was spilled among a group of politicians yesterday, but not so much that any of them will miss it.
Ten TDs and senators volunteered to be tested for food and drink intolerance in Buswells Hotel, subjecting themselves to a three-minute pinprick test for the benefit of Arthritis Ireland.
Next week, the Oireachtas members will be told if they are allergic to red wine, cheese, tomatoes or any of a range of 158 different products.
The project, promoted by test laboratories YorkTest, will pinpoint if particular foods or drinks in their diets trigger certain symptoms, such as anxiety, bloating, migraine, aches and pains or eczema.
YorkTest will also provide the politicians with nutritional after-care to allow them to easily modify their diets for positive health benefits.
The brave volunteers included deputies Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Noel Grealish, Dara Calleary, Ciaran Lynch, Colm Keaveney, Aine Collins, Michelle Mulherin and Senators Lorraine Higgins, John Gilroy and John Whelan.
For the next week, they should eat, drink and be merry -- because the folks in white coats may be about to tell them to avoid that glass of red wine or that their chocolate-munching days are numbered.
But Senator John Whelan wasn't too worried about the outcome. "The test only took a few minutes to undertake and I am looking forward to getting my results.
"I have no doubt that, leaving aside the issue of exercise, our general health is dictated often by what we eat and drink. This test will pinpoint what to avoid, providing us with choices to improve our general health and wellbeing."
Symptoms of food intolerance are often misdiagnosed, and range from migraine, fatigue and joint pain to skin complaints, as well as the more obvious chronic digestive discomfort.