New monitor may be able to instantly test your food for allergens

Photo: GARO/PHANIE/Corbis/Getty Images
Photo: GARO/PHANIE/Corbis/Getty Images

For people with food allergies (or who have kids with food allergies), eating at a restaurant or even at a friend’s house can be fraught with numerous levels of anxiety. After all, we’ve all heard the horror stories of the restaurant that neglected to mention it fries everything in peanut oil, or something that says it’s gluten-free and really is not, or even the unrefilled epi pen.

Gluten-free eater Shireen Yates had a realization when she was asking about the status of the some passed appetizers at a wedding: What if she could automatically test the food to see if it was safe for her to eat? Forbes reports that she subsequently developed Nima, creating a portable sensor that performs an antibodies chemistry test on the food you’re about to eat.


It looks pretty amazing, frankly: You put a bit of the food you want to test in a small capsule, which crushes it, and then put the capsule in the portable sensor. In a few minutes, you’ll know if the food contains the substance you should be on the lookout for. As Forbes notes that 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, we suspect this allergy sensor could be an extremely successful device.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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Oh man, I want to believe this works. My fiance has a severe peanut/tree nut allergy and this would be so helpful. But it sounds too good to be true.