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Tampa Teen’s Idea PASSes Allergy Test

“Wouldn’t it be cool if you knew exactly what was in the food that you were eating? This is especially important for people with life-threatening food allergies. With the Portable Allergen Specialized Spectrometer, or PASS, you can finally do that! Using the technology of mass spectrometry, the PASS device scans and penetrates the food with microwave beams. It then turns the scanned information into tangible data that goes through the mass spectrometer-like machine inside the device. Once the process is finished, the information will then be shown on a screen, showing each and every type of food that is on the plate. This device will help people with food allergies that are worried that what they are eating at a restaurant might contain the food that they’re allergic to (In other words, they’re afraid their food won’t PASS the allergy test).”

The PASS system is the brainchild of 15 year old Matthew Temmer, of  Land O’Lakes.  Matthew, who presented his insightful thoughts on the power of youth voice and vision at TEDxYouth@TampaBay 2011 , which I help curate, suffers from severe food allergies, and developed the PASS device idea”so that no one ever has to experience a severe allergic reaction at a restaurant again!”

When I wrote the Food Allergy Field Guide, the biggest concern facing those with food allergies,  including my son,  was – and remains – eating out safely.   My son enjoys french fries, but seasoned fries are often off limits, because it’s hard to know if there’s flour in the seasoning, and wait staff aren’t a reliable source of information about ingredients, nor are cooks sometimes.  The same issue applies with gravies and sauces.  And cross contamination is always a concern.  Having something like the PASS device to ensure safe dining would also make for far more relaxed and enjoyable dining for those with food sensitivities.  So I applaud Matthew’s great idea and hope someone can help make it a reality in the near future.

You can read more about Matthew’s idea at Connect a Million Minds, and if you think it’s as potentially useful as I do, I hope you’ll cast a vote for the Portable Allergen Specialized Spectrometer as totally awesome, too!