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Appetizers: A scan to seek ingredients that trigger reactions

Ipiit, The Food Ambassador, is an app that

Ipiit, The Food Ambassador, is an app that scans food bar codes for ingredients you may be sensitive to. Photo Credit: Ipiit, the Food Ambassador

NAME: ipiit, The Food Ambassador

WHAT: Scans food bar codes for ingredients you may be sensitive to.


COMPATIBLE WITH: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with iOS 7.0 or later; Android devices with OS 2.3.3 or later.

WHAT'S GOOD: Users first select from 15 food sensitivity preferences, including lactose, MSG, wheat, Aspartame, eggs and gluten. You then scan a food product's bar code with your device's camera and the app will tell you if the item is "for you" or "not for you," indicating the triggers it contains. You can also see the product's nutrition label and complete ingredients list, and the app keeps a history of products you've scanned. If your food sensitivity isn't listed, tap the "wish for new preferences" link, which has more than 130 additional sensitivities you can request for future versions of the app. While our particular sensitivity was not on the wish list, we emailed the developer and it was there when we rechecked the list a few days later.

WHAT'S NOT; Because there are so many food sensitivities, the app really needs to contain many more than the 15 current preferences to be useful. It was disappointing to find that some of the most common food allergies -- shellfish, soy and peanuts -- were missing on the original version. The developer also needs to stay current with ingredient changes. While the app says that General Mills' Fiber One cereal contains Aspartame, it was removed from the product months ago.

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