Nima, the company behind the eponymous handheld peanut and gluten detectors, is adding another arrow to its quiver of tools to help those afflicted by food allergies. The company announced today that it is running its own peanut and gluten tests on dishes from large restaurant chains and sharing its finding via an online guide.
The Nima team tested samples for the presence of gluten or peanuts from more than 100 popular chain restaurants using the company’s sensors. Dishes that were found to be allergen free are mapped in the tool and labeled at “Nima-Tested.” Results will be accessible to anyone (even if you don’t have a Nima sensor or Nima account) via a special section on Nima’s site.
Typically, chain restaurants have the same recipes, same ingredients and same preparation procedures across all locations — so if a dish is allergen-free at one location, chances are it’ll be allergen-free across the whole chain. However, Nima is quick to point out that conditions could be different, depending on certain local conditions that would invite contamination (for example, a particular McDonald’s could just happen to be right next door to a peanut butter factory). The Nima press announcement adds: “Users are encouraged to always practice due diligence, talk to servers and keep an EpiPen on-hand for emergencies.”
I spoke with Shireen Yates, CEO and co-founder of Nima, who said that Nima’s testing and mapping of chain restaurants will be a “big focus” for the company. Providing the data as a free service for the public is a good idea. From a public health perspective, it’s good for people with food allergies to have as much data as possible when eating out. From a business perspective, this resource creates goodwill and should increase awareness — and thereby drive sales — of Nima’s products.