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More consumers buying allergy devices

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We all know of medical devices you can carry to help stop an allergic reaction.

But what if you could prevent an allergic reaction from happening in the first place? Companies are developing devices designed to test the food you eat or even the air you breathe to determine if allergens are present.

Allergy-sufferer Torrey Freeman says it happens all the time. She orders food she is told is gluten free, but still ends up getting sick.

“Just going on someone’s word is really scary,” she says.

Now whenever she eats out, she carries a device designed to test for gluten called a NIMA Sensor. She says, “Having this sensor gives me that peace of mind when I test the food.”

There are gluten testing kits on the market, too.

If airborne allergens are more your concern, the TZOA “Enviro-Tracker” measures air quality to help you avoid pollution.

There’s also a prototype for an Allergy Amulet, slated to hit the market next year. It will use a disposable test strip to test for traces of peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy in food.

“Within a minute, it will tell the user if a presence or absence of the allergen is detected,” explains Meg Nohe, the mother of a peanut allergic child who helped develop the Allergy Amulet. “When other people are preparing your food, you don’t know what’s on their hands, you don’t know what countertop it’s touched or you can’t read the labels. So that’s where the Allergy Amulet is going to be a huge benefit.”

The co-founder of the Food Allergy Science Initiative says she sees these devices as promising but would like to see “real validation studies” to prove their efficacy.

Both Nima Sensor and the Allergy Amulet tell us third-party testing is in the works.

The allergy group also cautions about “cross contamination” issues and possible “human error.”

Nohe agrees a tester is only one tool in the safety tool belt. “It’s important for users to think of it as a supplement and not a substitute to what I would say are standard precautionary measures,” she says.

Freeman says she is still careful, but loves her sensor. “To save me from being sick when I’m out with my children and my family,” she says, “is such a wonderful thing!”

The sensors range from a hundred to nearly three hundred dollars and some require test strips, sold separately.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

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Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

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