Supermarket shoppers can now use their mobile phones to scan the barcode labels found on food packaging, to ensure products don't contain any ingredients to which they are allergic.
Nutritionists have hailed the app as a major breakthrough for the millions of Britons with food allergies and intolerances, who will no longer have to thoroughly read product labels to check there are no ingredients that cause them problems. They will now be able to use their smartphone's camera to scan the bar code on more than 85 different items.
To use the IsItInIt app, set up by a Norwich-based company Food Angel, users first must type the details of their condition into a website listing the foods or ingredients they want to be alerted to. The database is then synced with the phone's app which means that with a second of scanning a product barcode, the user will receive a red warning signal if the item contains any of their problem ingredients. If the product is clear, a green tick appears.
Neil Betts who along with his brother developed the app as a retirement project, told The Telegraph: "As a sufferer myself, I think it could make a big difference to consumers. Many packs of food have so much information, especially the ready meals, that it is like trying to read a bible. This will make life so much easier."
Mr Betts pointed out that some packaging fails to list cheese or mushrooms as ingredients instead listing specific varieties such as Porcini or Brie, making it more difficult to find the problem ingredient.
Sarah Sleet chief executive of Coeliac UK, a charity supporting people with coeliac disease, caused by an allergy to gluten said she welcomed the new technology. "It's a great opportunity to improve the quality of their everyday life," she said.