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What if you could scan your dishes to detect allergens?

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Allergies, whether seasonal or to food, can be real annoyances for most people. For many others, more serious allergies can be a matter of life and death. About 15 million Americans suffer from severe food allergies (1 in 13 children), that take away from their ability to safely eat out at restaurants. Some new, emerging technologies on the horizon are looking to solve that problem, by creating handheld versions of the mass spectrometers used in professional labs. Bonnie Powell, director of communications for Bon Appétit Management Company, recently penned an article published on Food + Tech Connect, emphasizing the need for technology and food industry companies to work on getting these devices on the market sooner, rather than later.

Currently, detecting fine particles of potential allergens requires bulky equipment, laboratories and technicians. While hard to imagine - in a world where the majority of adults carry a handheld computer on their person - pocket-friendly mass spectrometers are still a ways away from production. As Powell points out, attempts are being made to bring the idea to consumers, however, there are some limitations. For one, none of them are yet close to being ready to ship. The other hurdle is that their accuracy is questionable, certainly not reliable enough to stake your life on if you are someone suffering from a very severe allergy.

While the technology still needs time to be refined and perfected, the idea is sound, and the demand is there. Restaurants, bars, hotels, doctors offices, schools, and even workplaces could put the technology to good use to help ensure the safety of associates with food allergies. Be sure to check out the source link below for Powell's full article on Food + Tech Connect.

Source: Food + Tech Connect, Image Credit (Flickr)