Michael Kwiecien wants to bring smart phone technology to the grocery aisle, where everyday shoppers with food allergies can quickly identify allergens in products on the shelf.
“If you’re looking for one allergy in the label, you can do it in a timely fashion. But if you start looking for two or three or multiple food allergens in one food product label, you could be sitting there all weekend. It is a very arduous task,” said the owner of Waterloo-based software developer Visdatec Inc.
An engineer by trade, Kwiecien, himself, has a sensitivity to dairy products, as does his daughter. His frustration with his food allergies led him to design the Apple iPhone application, MyFoodFacts, to help consumers identify food allergens in products by using the device camera to scan bar codes.
The app recognizes popular food allergens, but users can customize the software to identify only those relevant to them. The software is backed by a proprietary database currently stocked with more than 100,000 products including national brands, private labels and some organic names, said Kwiecien.
“If you set it for milk, tree nuts, soy, what have you, it will pull up any or all of those if they are present,” said Kwiecien.
Visdatec is among the Canadian companies nominated this year for the ITAC 10th Annual IT Hero Awards, which recognize the creative application of IT to significantly improve the lives of Canadians and demonstrate social and economic benefit.
ComputerWorld Canada will feature several nominees in the weeks preceding the unveiling of the winners on June 22. Visdatec is nominated in the Corporate IT Hero Awards category sponsored by Research in Motion Ltd. There is also a Community IT Hero Award category sponsored by Innovapost Inc.