Allergy sufferers will soon be able to use their iPhone to scan a food’s barcode at the supermarket to determine whether it’s safe to eat.
The iPhone application is being developed by Deakin University, GS1 Australia and Nestlé and will enable consumers to access detailed product information instantly from their iPhone. Allergens such as wheat, egg, peanuts and shellfish can be identified directly from this iPhone application.
Caroline Chan, Associate Professor at Deakin University, said this new application would assist consumers in making a quick and informed choice about their health.
“When you read a label the product information is so small you can barely read it, nor understand it,” she said.
“In Australia all packaged food products carry a barcode but its use is limited to inventory control and to settle purchases at the cash register.”
Associate Professor Chan explained that the barcoding system administered by the not-for-profit organisation, GSI Australia, had ‘unlimited potential’ as it contained important product data such as weights, volumes packaging material and price.
“We wanted to really harness all this information on the bar-coding system and team it up with detailed product information provided by Nestlé to give consumers a tool that had the potential to improve their health and raise public awareness,” she said.
Associate Professor Chan said that the first testing of the application has been encouraging and the next step was to gain funding for a consumer trial.
She was certain that the application would be expanded to appeal to those with specific nutritional needs or those on special diets.
Maria Palazzolo, GS1 Australia Chief Executive Officer, said, “The exploration of mobile technology using the ubiquitous barcode is the next frontier for GS1 Australia.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for GS1 to provide business-to-business applications to engage consumers with business-to-consumer tools”.