Food Allergy Detectors: Do They Work?

Device Claims To Detect Food Allergens

Jolene Warren was diagnosed with celiac disease about a year ago.

"I had severe anemia and my red blood count was terrible and I had no oxygen going into my blood," she says.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye. It's commonly controlled through a strict diet.

"Food was my social activity and since then I eat as much as I can at home because that's my safe spot."

But now, a pocket-size gluten detector is helping her to eat out more and worry less.

The device from Nima Labs scans a sample of food placed in a disposable capsule.

A smile shows its safe, a wheat icon means gluten was detected.

Nima researchers are now creating devices for other common food allergies.

"We're developing a test for peanuts, for dairy, for tree nut - eventually anything you care about. We wanna give you that instant information in the palm of your hand," says Nima Labs CEO Shireen Yates.

Still, Nima admits it's not a 100% guarantee. While the tested sample may be safe, that doesn't mean the entire meal is gluten-free.

Dietitian Emily Luxford thinks the technology is helpful, but worries users may become too dependent.

"...And so they don't know how to use the proper tools of asking questions, communicating with restaurants or reading labels and then they feel like they can't actually make a choice without a device," she says.

Jolene uses her detector at least 2 to 4 times a week.

"I don't go anywhere without my tester to make sure that I'm safe," she says.

An added layer of security helping her cope with her condition.

Copyright 2017 WFMY


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