There’s now a portable device that can detect trace amounts of peanuts in foods

A new handheld device could seriously help cut down on the tragic deaths caused every year by exposure to peanuts.

Peanut allergies are increasingly common in the United States. The number of children allergic to peanuts has risen considerably in recent years, according to The New York Times. Around 150 to 200 people die every year in the U.S. due to food allergies. Of these cases, around 50 percent to 62 percent are caused by fatal anaphylaxis brought on by exposure to peanuts.

Some schools have now banned peanuts from lunches altogether and some airlines have also stopped serving them as a snack. And while packaged foods come with a warning if they may contain traces of peanuts, what happens when a person is dining at a restaurant or a friend’s home? All it takes is one case of accidental exposure and it could prove fatal, such as the recent case of Minnesota teen Jacob MacDonald, who died after eating a cookie which contained peanuts, or the case of British teen Megan Lee, who died after eating a takeout meal which contained peanut traces.

peanuts photo
Flickr | markcbrennan


These cases are heartbreaking and concerning, especially if you are the parent of a child who has peanut allergies. However, recent advancements in technology could hold the solution to curbing these tragedies.

The Nima Peanut Sensor is a new tool which can apparently detect whether a food is safe for a person with peanut allergies to consume. The handheld, Bluetooth-connected device can tell you within minutes whether a food contains peanuts. All you have to do is put a pea-sized amount of food into the capsule, screw on the lid, push a button and wait for the sensor to work its magic.

The Nima Peanut Sensor is not yet available to buy but the company already has another similar device on the market for people with gluten allergies. You can pre-order the new Peanut Sensor on Nima’s website. For the introductory price of $229, you will receive the device along with 12 test capsules. It is designed to detect traces of peanut protein at 20 parts per million with 99 percent accuracy, according to TechCrunch.

Best of all, the Nima Peanut Sensor is designed to be simple enough for even children to use, allowing kids to be empowered to be proactive about their own health and food safety. There is no date yet for when the Nima Peanut Sensor will ship, but it’s expected to be within the year.


Unfortunately, the price is expected to rise after it hits market, selling for $289 for the sensor and another $72 for a pack of 12 test capsules, one of which is needed every time you use the sensor. But sometimes it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.

[h/t: Mental Floss]