Food Allergy Apps to Help Keep You Safe
Whether You Need Product Information or to Find an ER, These 6 Apps Can Help
When you’re living with serious food allergies, every trip to the grocery store can seem like a trip through a minefield, and each meal out can seem like a threat instead of a pleasure.
Fortunately, there are several companies taking the lead on developing apps you can use to scan your groceries or find restaurants that know how to produce allergy-safe meals. Here are five apps you might want to consider downloading.
If you’re avoiding gluten specifically (and only gluten), you might want to check out this article:Gluten-Free Apps To Make Food Shopping and Dining Out a Lot Easier
Otherwise, if gluten’s not your issue (or if you have multiple food allergies), read on for some apps you may find valuable.
ContentChecked makes a family of mobile apps for people seeking to avoid particular allergens and ingredients.
Products include the company’s original ContentChecked app, which scans products’ barcodes and tells you whether the food in question contains the allergens you’ve pre-selected. The app’s database contains the vast majority of products available in the grocery store, and scans them for many different allergens, ranging from the “big eight” food allergens to less common allergens, such as celery, mustard, and sulfites.
ContentChecked also makes SugarChecked, which scans for added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohol. Finally, the company offers MigraineChecked, which looks for ingredients, additives and chemical compounds known to trigger migraines.
The apps are available for iPhone and Android devices. ContentChecked costs $2.99.2
MyFoodFacts is another app that allows users to scan products’ barcodes to check for allergens—12 different potential allergens in all. You enter your family’s list of allergens into the app, and once it scans a bar code, it provides you with an easy-to-read list of ingredients (in a large font, unlike most ingredients lists), plus pop-up allergy warnings. The app also can tell you whether products include a particular ingredient.
MyFoodFacts is available for iPhone and costs $1.19.3
AllergyEatsMobile allows users to use a “find near me” search for restaurants and returns a list ranked by allergy-friendly rating. If you are traveling to a new city, you can use the app to search for convenient, allergy-friendly restaurants.
The AllergyEats website was started in 2010 by Paul Antico after he experienced difficulty finding safe restaurants for his three children with food allergies.
AllergyEatsMobile is free and is available for iPhone and Android.4
EMNet FindER is a free app developed by Massachusetts General Hospital that allows users to find the closest emergency room. The database is national and comprehensive.
The app shows locations of nearby hospitals on a map, with a bar at the bottom of the screen that reads “The closest ER is __ miles away. Tap here for directions.” It also provides address and phone information that is constantly updated. If you are traveling with food allergies, having this knowledge easily accessible in your phone is invaluable.
EMNet FindER is available for iPhone.5
iAvoid Food Allergy
iAvoid Food Allergy, developed by a physician, doesn’t give you information on specific products. Instead, you choose your allergen, and the app tells you the various ingredient names for that allergen, plus the places where the allergen is found. For example, it states that peanuts may appear in ingredient lists under nine different names, and provides a list of foods that always contain peanuts or frequently contain peanuts.
iAvoid Food Allergy is free and available for iPhone.6
iEatOut Gluten Free and Allergen Free
iEatOut Gluten Free and Allergen Free from Allergy Free Passport aims to help people with food allergies, celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity finds places they can eat out safely. Once you download the app, you can choose which allergens you want to avoid from a list that includes: gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, soy, and tree nuts. Then, the app provides you with ethnic cuisines to browse for ingredients to avoid. For example, if you are allergic to soy and want to eat at a Chinese restaurant, it will spotlight Chinese dishes and ingredients that typically contain soy sauce. If you’re allergic to dairy and you’re planning to dine out at an Italian eatery, it will flag ingredients and dishes that contain cheese.
iEatOut Gluten Free and Allergen Free is $2.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad. It also works offline so that you can take it traveling internationally without incurring roaming charges.
A Word from Verywell
Even if you use apps to help you avoid allergens, you can’t let your guard down, especially if your reactions are severe. Always double-check everything before you eat it, and make sure to carry an Epi-Pen if your doctor has advised you to do so.