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Detecting food allergens on the go

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 01:31

A California startup has developed a portable technology that will allow consumers to test their food for gluten on the go. Ben Gruber reports.

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STORY: The menu says its gluten free but is it really? It's a question that people with debilitating food allergies face every time they eat. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHIREEN YATES, CEO, NIMA, SAYING: "Even when you go out and see these labeled menu items you are still playing Russian roulette. There is still cross contamination, there is miscommunication, they may have missed the order, you just never know." An estimated 15 million people in the United States have some form of food allergy, with 1 in 13 children affected, a statistic that is on the rise. Now a San Francisco startup is offering peace of mind in the form of a portable sensor that can detect gluten in food. Put a pea-sized sample of your food in this cartridge and then load into the sensor. Two minutes later if you get a smiley face - you know with 98 percent accuracy that your dish is gluten free. The cartridge amounts to a portable screening tool that utilizes the chemical reaction between antibodies and the proteins found in gluten. The device is a sensor that detects if that reaction has taken place. For now the device can only test for gluten. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHIREEN YATES, CEO, NIMA, SAYING: "Peanut and milk are actually in development right now as far as other proteins. But eventually we want to get to the point where whatever you care about in whatever substance we can be the platform to give you that immediate response." The first orders of the device, priced between $200 and $250, are expected to ship out to customers in the next few months.

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Detecting food allergens on the go

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 01:31