iEAT system to help consumers detect allergens in food

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A new portable allergen-detection system, called integrated exogenous antigen testing (iEAT), has been developed to help people detect food allergens on site in a restaurant or food service environment.

The system consists of a handheld device to extract allergens from food and a small electronic reader that detects any allergens present in the extract. Results are wirelessly communicated to a smartphone. In less than 10 minutes, the prototype could detect five allergens at levels even lower than the gold standard laboratory assay.

Developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School, the prototype device is small and light enough to fit on a keychain. To-date it has been optimised to detect the major allergens in peanut, hazelnut, wheat, milk, and egg. According to reports from the USA, the device comes at a cost of US$40, although the extraction kits will add to the test cost.

Reference: Hsing-Ying Lin et al. Integrated Magneto-Chemical Sensor For On-Site Food Allergen Detection, ACS Nano (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b04318