UK-based technology firm Spoon Guru has released the results of a study that indicated its artificial intelligence (AI) technology can recommend foods suitable for people with nut allergies as precisely as any qualified healthcare professional.

This study was conducted with the assistance of the British Dietetic Association.

This technology was launched in 2015 when CEO and co-founder Markus Stripf’s wife Jeany developed multiple food allergies and struggled to shop for foods she could eat as there was a lack of transparent information about products.

The study found that regarding accuracy, the Spoon Guru Machine Learning technology scored 99.3% when suggesting foods for people with nut allergies, matching the highest level of accuracy achieved by a healthcare professional during the study.

The AI technology was also found to make fewer errors (0.2%) when compared to healthcare professionals (9.5%).

“Dietitians already use assistive technology, which significantly aids their practice and clearly it can help patients who need to adapt their diets to access the broadest range of choices in a safe way.”

According to the company, this indicates that the technology can be an invaluable tool in a healthcare environment to boost human expertise and accuracy.

The study was written by Dr Danielle McCarthy and involved three dietitians who regularly consult food allergy patients.

Around 2,000 food products were sampled from a database of 96,141 items. The three dietitians independently assessed the product’s information and arrived at a consensus on the item’s suitability.

This consensus helped in establishing a benchmark to compare to the Spoon Guru Machine Learning Model, conducted by five dietitians selected by the British Dietetic Association.

British Dietetic Association chairman Caroline Bovey said: “This study demonstrates the supportive role that evolving technologies like AI can have on health care.

“Dietitians already use assistive technology, which significantly aids their practice and, in this case, clearly it can help patients who need to adapt their diets to access the broadest range of choices in a safe way”.

Spoon Guru co-founder and CEO Markus Stripf said: “With an alarming amount of adults and children developing peanut allergy, as well as various other allergies and intolerances, now more than ever the development of safeguarding technology is so important.

“We’re living in the height of the AI boom, and focusing on how emerging technology can impact accuracy will not only help allergy sufferers find safe food products but also enhance how our healthcare services treat and manage allergies, as well as providing reliable solutions to all our business partners like Tesco who license our food search and classification engine.”

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