Browse Prior Art Database

WIRELESS FOOD INGREDIENT CHECKING SYSTEM AND SHOPPING LIST DEVICE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000009366D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Aug-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 193K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

Judy Schmitt Zollner: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Many individuals have known food allergies, sensitivities, or have been instructed by their physi- cian to avoid certain foods while taking certain med- ications. For these individuals, checking food items in a grocery store to ensure that the products do not contain the offending ingredient(s) can be very diffi- cult. Ingredients are listed on food packages, how- ever, the listings are difficult to read and decipher (for example, individuals avoiding milk products should not eat foods containing butter, casein, hydrolysates, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, lactose, whey). Doctors advise that individuals with food allergies should check product ingredient lists regu- larly, since food product manufacturers often change formulas, and a product that was previously consid- ered "safe" for a given allergy may become "unsafe" after a formula change.

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Developments Technicul 0 M MOTOROLA

WIRELESS FOOD INGREDIENT CHECKING SYSTEM AND SHOPPING LIST DEVICE

by Judy Schmitt Zollner, Mark Zollner and Christopher Wilson

SOLUTION

  This invention utilizes portable bar code readers with Smart card interfaces, and bar code database technology, which work together in a "food ingredi- ent checking" and related "shopping list" systems.

SYSTEM DEVICES

  A Smart card will be designed to allow pro- gramming of food allergy information and unique customer ID. The portable bar code reader will be equipped with a Smart card reader for input of food allergy information, and a transceiver for communi- cating with central computer with access to the product information database. The product informa- tion database is expanded to include each product's food ingredient contents information.

  This allows manufacturers to provide the gro- cery store with updated food ingredient database information, easily correcting any omissions in the food ingredient listings. Transceivers connected to the central computer system will receive wireless communications from the portable bar code readers throughout the store. A user terminal located at the front of the store is connected via LAN or other wireline interface to the central computer with access to the product information database. The user terminal will also be equipped with a Smart card reader for input of food allergy information. Keyboard interfaces for alternate means to input food allergy information are options to the bar code reader and user terminal.

SYSTEM OPERATION

  An individual (hereafter called "consumer") will obtain (from a physician or grocery store attendant) a Smart card programmed with his/her known food

0 Motomla, 1°C. 1999 285 June 1999

PROBLEM

  Many individuals have known food allergies, sensitivities, or have been instructed by their physi- cian to avoid certain foods while taking certain med- ications. For these individuals, checking food items in a grocery store to ensure that the products do not contain the offending ingredient(s) can be very diffi- cult. Ingredients are listed on food packages, how- ever, the listings are difficult to read and decipher (for example, individuals avoiding milk products should not eat foods containing butter, casein, hydrolysates, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, lactose, whey). Doctors advise that individuals with food allergies should check product ingredient lists regu- larly, since food product manufacturers often change formulas, and a product that was previously consid- ered "safe" for a given allergy may become "unsafe" after a formula change.

  This is most obviously a challenge for the con- sumer, who must scrutinize each food ingredient label when grocery shopping. Not as obvious is the impact this problem has on manufacturers. Manufacturers must ensure that food ingredient labels are 100% accurate in order to avoid potential liability due to a consumer's adverse reaction to a missing ingredient on a produc...