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TellSpec Brings Big Data To Dinner
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Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
4/7/2014 | 9:17:56 AM
Re: Apps Shape What We Eat
@danielcawrey I also thought of food allergies when I read this. It would have to be amazingly advanced, though, to pick up traces of food that aren't even part of the ingredient list. You may have noticed that some products say that they are made in a plant that processes nuts, milks, wheat, etc., as a warning to people that there could be traces left in the food. Though they are not required to list the ingredients if they are not added directly, they do have to warn consumers about enough of a presence to trigger an attack in those who are allergic. Every once in a while, there's a recall on a product for "undeclared" ingredients. 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 9:43:04 PM
Apps Shape What We Eat
All I can say is WOW!!
Imagine being able to really know how much salt, calories and transfat food contains? Government has been trying to get get surefire information like this to the restaurant-going public for years, and it looks like this time, tech has leapfrogged government. And, even if it's only 90% accurate, that's certainly enough for most of us
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 3:08:24 PM
Re: Apps Shape What We Eat
I don't really have any food allergies, at least none that I know of. There isn't a food that causes my body discomfort. However, I can imagine how uncomfortable a situation like that would be.

There's a lot still to be done in the area of food science. My hope that this next era of food innovation will have to do with making people healthier. In the past, it's all been about creating new flavor methods and extending self-life.

But local food movements are changing that and I do believe that science can help make foods healthier for all of us. Scanning foods like in this example is a step towards that. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/4/2014 | 4:35:58 PM
Re: Apps Shape What We Eat
That's a great point. It could be really bad for people with OCD or eating disorders. And chefs would never be able to get away with a "secret ingredient" ever again!
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/4/2014 | 4:27:50 PM
Re: Apps Shape What We Eat
Food composition scanning is pretty cool, but it could get out of hand if the device isn't sufficiently accurate or if people don't know what the data means. I expect that most food is prepared less than immaculately and that our immune systems deal with small amounts of unfriendly bacteria with no noticeable effect. But when you start alerting people to this, it could deter them from eating perfectly fine food.
Alison_Diana
IW Pick
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/4/2014 | 3:57:58 PM
Apps Shape What We Eat
Fascinating -- and this fits in really well with a story I wrote recently for InformationWeek: Mobile Health Apps Reshape Food Industry. As you say in the article, the secret here is in removing the additional hardware so it's app-based. Not only does that dramatically decrease the cost, but it also vastly increases the convenience and the likelihood people with non-fatal allergies will use the system. That, in turn, will add to the crowdsourced knowledge base and expand the usefulness of the solution. When info on chemicals and pescticides, etc., is included, this will extremely useful and will accomplish what the researchers I interviewed predicted: consumers will force food growers, distributors, and retailers to change some of their practices.


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