A portable allergen-detection system with a keychain analyzer could help people with food allergies test their meals. Source: The American Chemical SocietyA portable allergen-detection system with a keychain analyzer could help people with food allergies test their meals. Source: The American Chemical SocietyPeople who experience food allergies go a long way to avoid consuming trigger foods, but eating out or eating prepared foods continues to challenge sufferers. That is, until now, thanks to a keychain developed by a team of researchers.

Detailing their product in the journal ACS Nano, researchers developed a $40 keychain that acts as an allergen detector. The portable keychain, working in conjunction with a smartphone, can be used in restaurants or with prepared foods where cross contamination and mislabeling can often lead to a range of reactions from mild (rash) to severe (anaphylaxis).

Called an integrated exogenous antigen tester, or iEAT, the keychain detects the presence of allergy-causing foods such as egg whites, wheat, peanuts, hazelnuts and milk—all in under 10 minutes.

The researchers believe that the keychain could be expanded to include tests for other allergens and for the presence of pesticides in foods.

To read more, go to ACS Nano.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com