Food allergies are becoming more and more common. Of course, there are dozens of theories as to why that is happening, but they come with a bunch of political opinions that have no place here. Instead, I’m going to focus on dealing with the problem. I’m lucky in that my only food allergies are to things that are very easy to avoid, and even if I do manage to accidentally eat something I am not in a life-threatening situation, I’m just miserable for a day or so. But as we all know there are life-threatening food allergies, and I’m sure many of you with children are familiar with peanut-free classrooms and cafeterias.

The thing is, some allergens hide. Recently, my niece’s son has been having health issues, so his doctor is testing for dairy allergies as they’re pretty sure that’s the problem. It is absolutely amazing to me how many food items contain dairy that it would have never occurred to me: Just add water stuffing mix. Almost all store-bought bread. Crackers. Granola bars. Hot dogs and lunch meat, for heaven’s sake! The list is seemingly endless, and if you think trying to buy food at the store without milk is hard, what about eating out? You’re presented with a plate of food, and somewhere in there is a milk product you didn’t think to ask about. What do you do?

You use your handy-dandy TellSpec, that’s what you do. This nifty little gadget pairs with your smartphone to scan, analyze, and report on all the hidden ingredients in what you’re about to eat. It does so by shooting a low-powered laser at the food, then analyzing it to see if it contains specific allergens as well as calories, fat content, calories, and a full ingredient list. Once the analysis is done, the information is sent to the cloud, and then down to your smartphone (or tablet, or computer) so you can decide if you really want to eat it or not.

What’s nice about this is it can be of use for those on restricted diets, allergy sufferers, or those who just want to eat better. One of the things it scans for is pesticides used in growing foods, so it’s even useful for those who want to eat “all natural” all the time. It can even “diagnose” (in quotes, because this is software, not a doctor) sensitivities to certain ingredients you might not be aware about using information you provide it. It even comes in multiple colours (black, white, turquoise, red and green), for those of you worried about carrying around a gadget that doesn’t match your outfit.

TellSpec is not exactly cheap. The individual plan is $320 US while the family plan is $490 US, plus a monthly subscription of $7.99 per month (or $69.99 per year). But the cost of being hospitalized or, god forbid, dying due to eating a hidden ingredient to which you’re allergic cannot compare. TellSpec will be shipping in August 2014, but you can pre-order yours now.

Source: Red Ferret

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