back to article I cannae do it, captain, I'm giving it all she's got, but she just cannae take another dose of bullsh!t

A few hours after a meal, there's sometimes a nasty moment. The stomach does a bit of a churn, and you wonder, 'Oh god, what have I eaten?' In the anxious minutes hoping things downstairs calm down, we might wonder if there isn't some way to know (or better, avoid) these tense moments. Food production – vast, complex and …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "People will always argue over truth"

    Have we normalised the past 3-4 years already?

    Before then we tended to agree on the truth, just disagreed on how to get there.

    At least I think we did.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "People will always argue over truth"

      Truth is indeed sometimes absolute (things fall towards the center of Earth), but all too often just relative. An obvious example would be religions: Which religion is "right"? And are all the others "wrong"? Some people think so, and are willing to kill/die for that personal "truth"... Many "truths" out there are actually just individual, subjective choices (good or bad, that's irrelevant), and only people sharing those choices (to some degree) can agree upon them.

      Then there are nuances: Everybody agrees that one should live a healthy life, but does that mean teetotalers and health freaks are right? Everyone you ask about it will have a slightly different opinion on this, and all the arguments to back up his/her opinion, there is no objective truth to be established, just tendencies and more or less vague cause-effect relations. Example: We're been told that smoking kills, yet I've met a 90-year old chain-smoking mountaineer still able to run up the slopes at a literally breathtaking pace. Does that mean smoking doesn't harm you actually? No, it simply means things aren't black or white. There is no "truth", just probability.

      So, what does "truth" actually mean? It usually just means "I'm right and don't you dare question it". It's something to consider if you don't want to be burned at the stake or sent to a reeducation camp, but it doesn't mean much more than that. When someone speaks about "truth", he just means he doesn't want to discuss it, that's all.

      1. Oengus Silver badge

        Re: "People will always argue over truth"

        "I'm right and don't you dare question it"

        So you have met the knobs from Extinction Rebellion and had a sip of their Kool-Aid.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "People will always argue over truth"

          Sorry, "Axes to Grind" isn't here. What I'm saying here is that the word "Truth" is toxic, simply because it usually crops up around deleterious or at least dishonest situations. That's all, no hidden agenda, no secret message.

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Smoking

        It is not beyond possible that we will soon have the answer as to how some people can drink and smoke without detectable deleterious effects.

        The best lead we have is that the accuracy and efficacy of our DNA checking proteins which detect and fix mutations varies. So if your suite of DNA duplicating, checking and fixing genes is top notch then you might be okay kind of thing.

        But don’t expect science to trumpet the finding or put them in plain language. We don’t want anyone to come asking for tests so they can abuse their bodies.

        You might come over all libertarian and say you have a right to do so except we have ‘socialised’ medicine here in Blighty and so taxpayers have to pay to pick up the pieces. Why yes, I hardly drink, have never smoked, lifelong distance runner and eat a healthy diet free from most processed foods. I have a big pot of multi bean (9 of them) chilli in the slow cooker. Not a processed food in there unless you count a tin of chopped tomatoes in juice.

        I shall have some on rice for dinner tonight then perhaps with home made tortilla chips (make tortilla, cut into wedges, deep fry) or on buckwheat groats. I will also make pasties filled with some of it and freeze them for later. I suppose they will be processed but I will know everything which goes into them.

        Last night I had bangers and mash. The bangers I made myself, gluten free pork, apple and cider sausages. I made the mash from spuds, cut up the onion myself. I did use frozen veg but I don’t regard a bag of frozen peas as processed. For desert I had a scoop of home made lactose free roasted hazelnut ice cream (it’s autumn so hazelnut ice cream time). I enjoy cooking and making so it isn’t usually a chore but a joy and something creative.

        For cider apple bangers buy a bag of dried apple, cut into chunks and soak overnight in cider. Drain, freeze and mince with the pork. Fill into casings of your choice. I use natural casings.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: "People will always argue over truth"

      Debatable, Dan. Remember the dodgy dossier, Saddam's 45 minutes away from yellowcaking us? In fact, isn't that yellowcake in your post?

    3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: "People will always argue over truth"

      Thousands of years of recorded history of people killing each other over who worships the best invisible sky buddy (or who worships it the best, or correctly, etc.) would tend to contradict your point.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: "People will always argue over truth"

      Ah, common error. You're confusing "truth" with "facts".

      We used to agree about facts, but differ about how to interpret them (truth). What's happened in the past few years is that "facts" have become inseparable from interpretation, nobody believes in "objectivity" any more.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: "People will always argue over truth"

        It's a fact that G-d created the Earth in six days. Agree with me, or I'll kill you and everyone you've ever loved by the most horrific means I can devise.

        (The message brought to you by the followers of the god of infinite love and compassion.)

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: "People will always argue over truth"

          No, that's another example of the same confusion. The "facts" we can agree on are that the Earth is here, has been here for some time, and it seems to change somewhat over time, thus leading us to infer that it was very likely markedly different in the past. Oh, and that there exist stories that describe "creation" of the Earth.

          But "God created the Earth in six days" is not something that can be observed at first hand, it requires interpretation of the observable facts. This particular one relying on a specific written account being true (and many others being false).

        2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: "People will always argue over truth"

          I had a word with the Pope and the Arch B of C and they said you're okay to go on about your business. Perhaps while busy shouting "not all M's are terrorists" you forgot that "not all Cs are fundamentalists"...?

        3. Kiwi Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: "People will always argue over truth"

          It's a fact that G-d created the Earth in six days. Agree with me, or I'll kill you and everyone you've ever loved by the most horrific means I can devise.

          Of course, ignorance can cause it's own problems. Take this guy[1] for example - he shows a ton of ignorance in his post and clearly knows not the God he imagines he is speaking about.

          If he would actually get to know Truth, he would have a different view of things. But it is easier to live on in ignorance and proudly display it thinking you're something greater than you are! :)

          [1] or 'gal' etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "People will always argue over truth"

            Hah - You said "Truth"!...

            The choice of this word shows you're trying to strong-arm people to accept your point of view as being the only valid one! :-p

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Angel

              Re: "People will always argue over truth"

              Hah - You said "Truth"!...

              The choice of this word shows you're trying to strong-arm people to accept your point of view as being the only valid one! :-p

              Ah yes, the foibles of the human imagination. Take one word used in a sentence, completely miss the way the word was spelt (perhaps indicating it was used as a Name for Someone), completely miss the context, then make a false accusation on the other's motives based on your own understanding. An accusation made, it could be said, in hopes of shutting down debate and stopping others speaking their mind.

              I don't need to "strong-arm" anyone. Truth is obvious to those willing to step out from the shadow of others and seek the light themselves rather than letting them be cowed into following the herd. If you feel threatened by that then the problem is with yourself and what you'd have others believe about yourself, instead of showing yourself for who you truly are.

              1. ThatOne Silver badge

                Re: "People will always argue over truth"

                You might have missed the smiley... -> :-p

                I was just making fun (see second post from the top), but your reply suddenly reminds me of that old saying that "one can make fun of anything, but not with everybody". My bad.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: "People will always argue over truth"

                  You might have missed the smiley... -> :-p

                  You're correct that I missed the smileys, but it was not yours I missed but my own! Now I re-read my post in with different eyes, it could've used a few of them especially in the first paragraph!

                  --> 'twas my bad, not yours...

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    Depends on what you eat

    The more processed food you eat the less of a clue you have what you are eating.

    Even for minimally processed food, it depends where you source it, e.g. in UK a while back horse meat got into beef mince as sold by some supermarkets. Totally unaffected were local butchers who could tell you which farm all their beef came from.

    Of the food I buy, that which I have least trust in is ironically meat free stuff - as its typically highly processed - e.g. quorn burgers and sausages.

    Always worth washing vegetables (even when they claim to be washed) . If your veg has pesticide / herbicide residues then chances are washing it won't remove all of these, but a fair chance it will remove some (and same for any soil residue, soil surprisingly hard to rinse off)

    In many cases your biggest food risk is going out for a meal as usually you have no real idea / control over what is happening in the kitchen (lots of restaurant use pre-prepared food e.g. you may well get very similar desserts at many restaurants as a big market in nice looking desserts being provided by third parties.

    As desserts are most likely to be "brought in", always better to go starter & main rather than main & dessert if you want 2 courses as more chance of starter made "in house"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Depends on what you eat

      Not really sure what you're arguing for here; if I'm going to a small restaurant then yes, I want something they made in-house rather than bought in, but realistically, if I were choosing purely on hygiene standards, I'd probably take my chances with a pre-prepared dessert they'd had supplied by Brakes (nee Brakes Bros) or similar, as those big guys arguably have better standards and more to lose if things go wrong.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Depends on what you eat

        AC: "as those big guys arguably have better standards and more to lose if things go wrong."

        Ahem, 2013 Horse meat scandal. Any point in the supply chain can be corrupted, so ingredients bought in good faith might not be 100% what is declared. I'm sure Brakes would carefully assemble the ingredients, but if one of them is not what it is supposed to be, how do they detect and prevent that? The 2013 scandal showed too much is taken on trust.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Depends on what you eat

          "Ahem, 2013 Horse meat scandal"

          Exactly; it caused a huge scandal and led to massive changes in the industry. Your local restaurant could close down and reopen "under new management" after a problem like that and who'd be any the wiser? Horse meat may not be "palatable" to British tastes, but no one noticed and no one was harmed, suggesting at least that the hygiene standards were rock solid..

          1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

            Re: Depends on what you eat

            Agree with the AC - its where supply chains become long and opaque e.g. in big corp like Brakes that things go wrong in a big way. Often these have global supply chains with many niche manufacturers adding "value" or shelf-life which would not apply in a smaller supply chain.

            Your local butcher has a far shorter supply chain and therefore does know where, er, his meat has been...

            1. GlenP Silver badge

              Re: Depends on what you eat

              Your local butcher has a far shorter supply chain and therefore does know where, er, his meat has been

              But you still can't necessarily trust him. Local butcher was twice fined for mis-labelling meat as UK sourced when it wasn't.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Angel

                Re: Depends on what you eat

                But you still can't necessarily trust him. Local butcher was twice fined for mis-labelling meat as UK sourced when it wasn't.

                Well, it's not an exact science I'll grant you, but sit outside one and watch the clientèle. And note how old the exterior signs are. You can get a good idea of a butcher by looking at repeat business they get, how they talk with the customers etc (don't have to hear the words), and if the shop's been around a while chances are good they either do a quality product or are bloody good at faking it - good enough it fools enough people into thinking the product is decent.

                Recent changes of hands can be a warning sign, but if it's what was the butcher's boy who now owns the place after the owner retired, again good odds it's a good shop.

                Not guaranteed, but you'll improve your odds. And their worst will likely be vastly better than the re-packaged refuse-tip refuse the supermarkets sell.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Depends on what you eat

      Correction: in the Great Horse-Meat Beat-Up, it wasn't "mince" that was mislabelled, it was products containing mince. Mostly, beefburgers and pasta sauces. The "mince" sold by supermarkets was (as far as has been revealed, at least) fine. Which chimes with your point about more processed food being dodgier, but not so much about local butchers being more trustworthy.

      Your local butcher may indeed make their own burgers with locally sourced mince, but probably not their own bolognaise.

    3. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Depends on what you eat

      Even for minimally processed food, it depends where you source it, e.g. in UK a while back horse meat got into beef mince as sold by some supermarkets.

      I'm pretty sure that story was utter bullshit. Since when do supermarkets sell actual meat?

      Well, I guess it is meat but it's the process.. See, butchers cut stuff up, and in the process bits get dropped on the floor. This gets swept up (mixed with the dirt, excretia and whatever else ends up on their shoes) and is sent to the pet food factory. They use what they can, but in their processes more gets spilled. This gets combined with what they don't use and gets sent to the dump.

      There, the rats/gulls/hungry etc pick over it, of course spilling more and rejecting stuff. Go grab a coffee BTW, because I've got a hell of a lot more steps to get through before we got to the point where the supermarkets are buying it for what they call 'meat'.

      If ever there should be people executed for false advertising...

      As to restaurants... Noisy, smelly places with overpriced pretentious garbage. Not that you can taste it over the mix of strong cologne, stronger perfumes, and people who should've showered but hide it with too much scents. I could do much better at home, and there's a good chance that at least some of the vegetables were still growing mere moments before they went into the pot. When I put a tomato into a burger it's picked, washed and sliced all in a few minutes, it's on the burger less than 5 after picking. The meat and buns are the freshest I can get my hands on. Not sitting in some dingy coolstore for who knows how long before it finally gets dragged out of the roache's mouths and onto your plate, handled by someone who's likely been abused for no good reason in the last half hour and would rather be doing anything else and much rather be anywhere else. Don't care if it costs $300 for a pea and something that could pass as meat that sits on a plate that makes the London Eye look minimalist, it's crap and you can do much better at home even with a simple can of tinned tomato and some cheap pasta.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Where does the "micro" come into this? A plate of food isn't just a big specimen by microspectroscopy standards, it's enormous for normal IR-spectroscopy.

    1. find users who cut cat tail

      The entire microspectroscopy thing is a scam. Yes, it will measure some spectra and report some composition of the food. It will make happy people who do not know enough about chemistry and IR spectroscopy (and statistics) to question the results – and that's the entire point.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        yes, statistics...

        "Sorry, looks like the bit we sampled did not have any botulinum toxin"

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Yes, it will measure some spectra and report some composition of the food.

        And then the report on the composition of the food comes from comparing that spectral data to a database. Which now adds another couple of sources that you have to trust when accepting the report you're presented with. So the 'trust blob' doesn't actually become smaller and less opaque.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As someone who uses microscopy in a food industry environment I can say it has limitations. It won't for example ever tell you if you chicken is bio or has botulinum but it certainly has its place in checkimg product consistency of many products on the production line.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      I was wondering if it is Near IR (NIR) spectroscopy that this is about - about 25 years ago (hmm time flies), that was being trialled at a place I worked for quick raw materials identification using FT-NIR. (FT - Fourier Transform). Now, given the advances in detectors and also computing power, it is possible that something like this much more feasible...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "time flies"

        But keep them away from the food.

        And it must have been at least 35 years ago I was playing about with real microspectroscopy - albeit in the visible spectrum.

        Actually at the same time we were also doing something approaching microspectroscopy with IR. Take the standard Perkin Elmer job, add a couple of lenses (made from KCl IIRC) and a special specimen mount. The latter was made from a couple of industrial diamonds to squeeze the specimens, small fibre, flat. The diamonds were cut as truncated pyramids, rather like a Tudor gem cut and under pressure if they were misaligned there was a risk of bits of diamond spalling off (diamond might be hard to scratch but can fracture).

        My mate had to ring up the presumably very small, specialist US supplier for some reason and the guy he had to speak to wasn't there - he only worked there part time. "I suppose he works for de Beers the rest of the time." Oh dear. Americans don't do Irish humour.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's just about there now for some products, especially drinks.

      3. I3N
        Pint

        'time flies', unobtanium, 5G, and lidar

        A couple of years ago mom at a local science fair told her daughter that maybe soon there would be an Arduino shield for that ...

        Bought some old/ancient ones [chem lab in '74] at university auction to explore ...

        Deuterium bulbs and photo-multiplier tubes ... gratings, prisms, slits, and lenses ... gears, chains, and pulleys ... that Heath set-up was a beast ...

        Nope on that hope ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'time flies', unobtanium, 5G, and lidar

          "...tubes ... gratings, prisms, slits, and lenses ... gears, chains, and pulleys ... that Heath set-up was a beast ...

          What kind of pr0n you making there?

      4. WereWoof

        Time flies like an arrow, Fruit flies lie a banana . . .

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Dont call it food poisoning - call it pickling.

    I know a lot of people who hate sauerkraut but love it when you call it German Kimchi.Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population and yet 15% claim to have it. If you throw up in a restaurant many people will throw up too even though your were just pissed. We're animals who know that some things are poisonous and its better to throw up than risk poisoning so we are easily talked into, and can talk ourselves, into being sick remarkably easily.

    I have no doubt we could stop everyone eating shit food it Ronald McDonald was more closely associated with the far better for you IT.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Dont call it food poisoning - call it pickling.

      Gluten intolerance - in fact a significant number of people suffer from wheat intolerance,and it was ignored by the medical profession until a few years ago. I don't want gluten free - I just want wheat free.

      I have no time for the stupid people who think gluten free is somehow "healthier", but they have at least achieved this -there's far more stuff on restaurant menus I can eat nowadays.

    2. Korev Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Dont call it food poisoning - call it pickling.

      My cousin's wife (a coeliac) will be in bed for days after eating even a tiny wheat... Next time someone in a kitchen is careless perhaps you could pop over and nurse her.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Dont call it food poisoning - call it pickling.

        My cousin's wife (a coeliac) will be in bed for days after eating even a tiny wheat... Next time someone in a kitchen is careless perhaps you could pop over and nurse her.

        I know two people who've claimed that. One got fairly ill one day, seems an accident in the kitchen with someone contaminating something.. But thanks to the other, I'm a bit sus he was faking.

        The other? She claims she has a serious case of coeliac's disease, yet she will happily eat the nastiest cheapest burger buns and all sorts of other wheat products. If caught, she'll complain she might feel sick later. Yet try and tell her that her symptoms don't match the literature, and you'll soon wish you'd never met her.

        (Oh, 'he' also claims all sorts of other wonderful things - most people who eat meat get liver cancer, milk causes asthma and brain tumours and if he touches milk products he could die from an asthma attack (yet he can put away chocolate like no-one else I know!), has a severe nut allergy and won't let people in the house if they've had any within the last week - but again see the bit about chocolate... IOW the people I know who claim wheat/gluten problems aren't exactly causing me to have a lot of faith in the issue - of course I probably don't know your cousin's wife and am quite convinced there are a number of people who do have a serious condition, but I know others who are clearly faking it for some reason or other).

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: Dont call it food poisoning - call it pickling.

          I agree, though a number of people seem to have downvoted me for making this point. (I remember my GP telling me with an absolutely straight face that some people believe total elimination of milk products will prevent asthma, and then raising his eyebrows.)

          However, it took me years of IBS to realise the problem was wheat. I also know my tolerance for wheat - about 15g a day - and that double baked biscuits are harmless, presumably because the offending protein has been degraded.

          Lots of people have psychosomatic food problems - I know one - but it doesn't mean that others are not made seriously ill.

          Generally speaking my view is if it has been diagnosed by a reflexologist, chiropractor, or unqualified "nutritionist", it's psychosomatic. If it survives blind testing, it's real.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Dont call it food poisoning - call it pickling.

            I agree, though a number of people seem to have downvoted me for making this point.

            I owe you an apology. I scrolled back to your original message to see how bad it was and noticed a blue icon in the wrong place. At least El Reg lets you correct that :)

            (I remember my GP telling me with an absolutely straight face that some people believe total elimination of milk products will prevent asthma, and then raising his eyebrows.)

            I'd had a couple of people claim that. An older friend has sometimes quite bad asthma and I'd suggested he cuts back or cuts out milk. He wasn't going to so I thought I'd go through some of the literature and find stuff I could point out to him to help. Only, to my surprise, the literature all says that despite many studies there's been no proven links. Given at least one of the studies was from the "milk=asthma" side where they had to admit they could not find a link, I'm inclined to believe that.

            However, it took me years of IBS to realise the problem was wheat. I also know my tolerance for wheat - about 15g a day - and that double baked biscuits are harmless, presumably because the offending protein has been degraded.

            One thing I do get is we have reactions for all sorts of stuff. Allergies are still barely understood as far as I know (the why we have certain reactions at least)

            Lots of people have psychosomatic food problems - I know one - but it doesn't mean that others are not made seriously ill.

            I still cannot be in the same room as minted peas. I can now eat peas happily thanks to using Kombucha (which itself may be psychosomatic, or perhaps my original allergy was and this undid that). The smell reminds me of power-chucking and the memory is strong enough it almost causes the same result. I can eat peas and pretty sure I could eat minted peas, but the smell...

            Generally speaking my view is if it has been diagnosed by a reflexologist, chiropractor, or unqualified "nutritionist", it's psychosomatic. If it survives blind testing, it's real.

            ---> On that we have to agree. Although with food allergies blind-testing can be a bit risky - but damned tempted to try sometimes! (then again, the guy I mentioned above does use a soy sauce that contains several of the elements he claims he cannot tolerate, guess the label print is too fine or he doesn't realise I use the same brand at home). I do know a couple of dishes I can prepare though that should put him in the toilet if what he says is true, but won't put him in the hospital. I did it once before, before I knew his list of allergies, I saw no notable reaction not even IBS symptoms. I'd remember if my cooking made a friend sick.

    3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population

      Don't confuse gluten intolerance with coeliac disease. The medical profession have, for a long time, been diagnosing people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (translation: we have no idea what's wrong with you.) In many cases the IBS symptoms are triggered by ingesting particular foods. In a significant number of these cases the culprits are wheat, barley, rye and milk. People who are at their wits end and dissatisfied with the IBS diagnosis are simply taking matters into their own hands and investigating their own conditions via "challenge diets". This has caused the growth in gluten and/or dairy intolerance. Taking this course has dramatically improved my own quality of life although I realise that anecdotal evidence does not a scientific study make.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population

        Some researchers do blame the gluten intolerance numbers on the "herd mindset", others think this intolerance might be because of the genetically engineered seed stock.

        Who knows where the reality is?

        1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

          Re: Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population

          Some of it probably is accounted for by "herd mindset". But I'd wager much less than you think. It really is a massive PITA (figuratively and sometimes literally) to eat in restaurants or buy from fast food/sandwich outlets when you have to ask about everything and frequently get treated as 'annoying' & 'awkward'. After believing you have established that your menu choice won't make you ill, you can get a nasty surprise later because the minimum wage employee who took your order simply wanted to get you out of the way and have an easier shift. How many people do you think would actively choose to live like that? Genetically engineered seed stock won't be relevant in the EU if by genetically engineered you mean interfered with directly at the genetic level. Obviously every domesticated species has been genetically engineered by selective breeding.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population

            How many people do you think would actively choose to live like that?

            I know a couple at least :(. I also know they're not as affected as they claim.

            Hypochondria is a real thing, as are psychosomatic symptoms. Then there's the very real reactions to something bad, but we blame the wrong bad cause - you get sick from eating at a certain place and it must be that they used gluten not that they didn't clean their equipment in the last week.

            Some people are truly affected, but many aren't. It's actually something that's considered fashionable, even fashionable to make a fuss about what goes into some things and about rights to be served special foods and so on.

            I'm not accusing you of this, I don't know you and would take your comments as truth unless I see a reason to believe otherwise (like claiming a severe milk allergy while gobbling bar after bar of milk chocolate), but I have known enough others who are as "gluten-intolerant" as I am Santa. You may be the real thing, but there's lots who imagine they are and lots who claim it for the attention.

            I do think restaurants/fast food places should be less annoying about people bringing in their own food. If 5 of us want to have a meal and one cannot (or for religious reasons will not) eat what you serve, be happy you have 4 paying customers. Otherwise we'll go elsewhere and support someone else's business.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This

        I get all the symptoms, including bleeding, with the smallest amount of exposure (of all I can assume is gluten or a wheat allergy, until I can get hold of a 100% pure gluten sample from online to do my own allergy test).

        Yet I fail every "test". I'm not an idiot, I know the difference between false positive, false negative etc. I also know it might be a wheat allergy, and not coeliacs. Or it might be anything else. Drs response? "The test comes back negative, so their nothing wrong with you" or "it's IBS", yet I'm bleeding and in pain eating plain food, but that has been cooked in utensils used for wheat products previously.

        So I'm going the gluten free route myself, because I literally cannot eat the stuff.

        Oh, and for all those "it's made up in your head" people, my uncle got told that, for 55 years... then the Dr decided to do a test when he did not get better from an "episode/nervous break down", came back positive for coeliacs, and it had (I assume) trashed his nervous system/digestion so bad, that was what was causing the apparent "stress" symptoms and extreme illness.

        Sadly, he took his own life. I'm not going through that myself. So for everyone who suggests people are making it up, go work in care for a few years like I did, and see how really ill people also get treated and told that. You'll soon realise how much of a scumbag you are being by denying someone's illness in front of their faces!

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: This

          Well said.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: This

          You'll soon realise how much of a scumbag you are being by denying someone's illness in front of their faces!

          I do work in care, but I also see people who clearly are faking it or have convinced themselves of a certain issue (it's quite possible for humans to do it). Too much exposure to the fakers/hypochondriacs (especially ones of the latter who use WebMD etc to diagnose every slightest sniffle into a brain tumour or whatever is the disease du jour) leads one to being somewhat cynical towards them and others. It's a form of psychological conditioning, get lied to too often and you find it harder to trust.

          Good luck though with sorting out your issue. I had to make some small dietary changes a while back and am so much better for it.

          I'll also suggest - nay, strongly recommend you investigate Kombucha(sp) tea and other such "pro-biotic" drinks/foods. I used to have reactions (I won't call them allergies but they could've been) to many foods. Someone gave me some of that for a while and the results were staggering. Where a small amount of cooked peas (teaspoon or less) would have me bringing up everything in my stomach and reaching[1] for more, after a few days (weeks?) of regular Kombucha I could soon eat quite normal amounts of stuff without issue. Whether psychosomatic or real I don't care, the end result is it made a huge improvement in my life and health.

          To me it tasted largely like ginger beer, though not as strong. Not a bad drink.

          [1] Yes it's an intentional pun. And yes I am a miserable wretch! :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This

            I'm tempted to downvote. As even those making it up, usually are because they have real problems (alcohol dependency was the solution to the pain of my family member who took their own life due to misdiagnosis) that are hidden and ignored.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: This

              I'm tempted to downvote. As even those making it up, usually are because they have real problems (alcohol dependency was the solution to the pain of my family member who took their own life due to misdiagnosis) that are hidden and ignored.

              Real problems, yes.. But often it's a psychological need for attention seeking, sometimes outright fraud, and other issues that can suck resources while they utterly refuse to a) acknowledge that there is another issue and b) do something about it.

              The first step to curing an illness is getting a close-enough diagnoses. Diagnosing "athlete's foot" as a brain tumour is more likely to kill than help your patient, same for people on messed up diets out of a need to somehow feel 'special' (or a pathological need to go out of their way to make things harder for others - and yes in one case I know I have no doubt she just wants to make others work harder to please her/stop her complaints).

              I will help you in any way I can whenever I can, wherever the need is. But meet me half-way. Tell me what you actually need and be willing to make changes to your life as needed for help to be successful (I also won't keep fixing your car if you don't keep up the oil changes/refuse to get other maintenance done, or run around on the motorways in 3rd 'coz it sounds like an F1')

      3. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population

        Along a similar line of enquiry, I have been diagnosed with Gout, which is extremely painful and can be triggered by eating just a very small amount of whatever is your "Trigger Substance". In my case, they are pork and turkey (so I have to be extra vigilant around Christmas). One week I decided to be a good little boy and go meat-free for a week. I bought a packet of Quorn sausages and a pack of Quorn burgers. That evening, I had two of the sausages with mashed potatoes and peas. Oh! Dear! Next morning I was totally immobile from the knees downwards. Seems that Quorn is even higher in Purines that either pork or turkey, but no-one told me that. I could kill for a bacon sandwich right now, but I know I would regret it tomorrow.

        1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

          Re: Purines

          Better stay off the sardines too then.

          1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Purines

            Thanks for that, I hadn't checked them as I don't eat much in the fish line. A bit of Haddock (with chips) is about all.

        2. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: Gluten intolerance affects less than 1% of the population

          I have been diagnosed with Gout, which is extremely painful

          You bet it is painful. You have my sympathy.

          But the thing about gout is that once you've built up MonoSodiumUrate crystals in your joints or elsewhere -- which you likely did years ago, gout attacks can be triggered any change in blood urate concentration -- downwards as well as upwards. And they probably can be triggered by other events -- stress, surgery, etc, etc, etc. At least so we're told

          Most of us gout sufferers can tolerate plant and dairy purines far better than animal purines. Again so I'm told. And it certainly seems so for me. And we probably do need some protein and therefore purines for health.

          I assume you're taking Allopurinol or some other medication(s), and that MAY help bring your blood urate under control and eventually subdue the gout attacks. It doesn't work well for me, but does for many.

          You might want to consider buying a blood urate meter. They aren't outrageously expensive. I think mine cost about $40 US. Test strips also aren't outrageous. About $1.00 per test if you buy the strips from Amazon. And you don't have to test every day. Once a week might well be adequate. Anyway, the hope is that in a few tens of months all the urate stashed in the body will dissolve and gout will be a thing of the past ... At least as long as I'm very careful about animal protein. So far, it's promising. Measured urate levels are well below the purported solubility level. Of course, it's not clear how accurate the meter is. And the actual as opposed to theoretical solubility level is a bit hazy. (Toe, Ankle, and Knee joints are not necessarily at exactly the same temperature as one's blood). Anyway, my gout attacks have become less frequent and less severe, so I'm sticking to veggies, faux meat, and cheese.

  5. Julz Bronze badge

    Egh

    I've read the story twice now and still don't know what it was trying to argue. Some sort of mashup relating food poisoning to feeling sick if you've been duped online? Relating a mythical food poison detector to an equally mythical bullshit detector? Berating how some people physical diet is as bad as their online diet?

    Anybody else got a clue?

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Egh

      Something like that I guess. There was a kickstarter promising the mentioned food scanner, except it was complete bullshit and a total scam of the scientifically illiterate. (did I mention it was on kickstarter?) Odd it wasn't referenced in the article.

    2. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Anybody else got a clue?

      I think it was missing at least a concluding paragraph; if not the entire second half of the article.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Egh

      No. It seemed to me that, just as it was getting somewhere, the article just stopped.

      For the majority of people knowing what's in thier food right down to microscopic level will make little difference but depending on the latest wisdom from the dailies/TV/blogs etc.

    4. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Egh

      Maybe they're planning a big breaking story and are having to communicate with their very anonymous source in code through an article.

    5. Draco
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Egh

      Exactly what I thought as I read it

      I think it was to increase clicks to other articles they've written - 7 links in an article with no substance to other El Reg articles.

      As has been mentioned, many people know of the failed food scanner fundraising scam.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Egh

        As has been mentioned, many people know of the failed food scanner fundraising scam.

        Not one I'd heard of myself (I admit I seldom follow the links in El Reg articles - spend too much time reading here as it is! :) )

        --> My pyjama jacket. Night folks, way past my bed-time!

  6. Zangetsu
    Alert

    if the source is china, you can be sure you re not getting what you paid for but the cheapest substitute that seems legit if not checked well.

  7. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Warning!

    The deadliest bullshit is odorless, and transparent. --William Gibson

    This makes geolocation of a BS source difficult at best.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll use it to test my wife's cooking...

    Chicken for supper one evening. I was late in, so she had hers already. So later that night when I was throwing up and trying to work out the source, "It couldn't be that chicken because you would be ill too".

    "I didn't eat mine, thought it wasn't cooked properly".

    "WTF you didn't tell me??"

    "I forgot".

    Nearly two weeks off work.....

    Cooking chow mein - used Worchester sauce instead of soy sauce. Fortunately she isn't keen on it so didn't use much, but enough to taste.

    "Well, it looked the same"

    "This bottle has Chinese writing on it - for Chinese food, bit of a clue there..."

    So now I make sure she eats hers first.....

    1. spold Bronze badge

      Re: I'll use it to test my wife's cooking...

      ....best to consume it with sufficient alcohol to kill any bugs and ensure you don't catch anything.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Let's look at this as the inverse, and therefore ill-posed problem it really is

    Suppose I know the chemical composition of something, and I know what the IR reflection properties of each of the chemicals in the mixture are, it is then relatively straightforward to compute its spectral reflectance properties. Even if there are tens of thousands of chemicals involved we can generate a spectrum of say 1000 wavelength bins (or higher). This is the forward problem. However, what we have is the inverse problem, because the aim is to recover the chemical composition of a highly complex mixture from an IR reflection spectrogram of e.g. 1000 wavelength bins. It is likely that far more chemicals are involved than spectral bins, so even if the problem reduces to a linear one, we have N equations with M variables with N<<M so no unique solution exists. M (the number of chemicals involved) can be arbitrarily large, especially if we want to incorporate rare toxins and contaminants. To complicate matters further, the molecular absorption bands involved are often very broad and overlapping, so even if we have sufficient measurements, the problem is still ill-posed, because very different mixtures can produce the same spectrum.

    It is a bit like the difference between computer graphics and computer vision: given a 3-D object model it is comparatively straightforward to generate a suitable 2-D representation. By contrast, given a 2D image it is much harder to extract the 3-D object model, because information has been irretrievably lost, and the remaining information is contaminated with noise.

    What can be done in the case of the food scanner is compare a given spectrum with a reference spectrum from some previous, clean sample, to see if they are consistent, but even then no hard guarantees can be given. First of all, slight differences in cooking times and temperatures could change spectra significantly, but have no detrimental effects, whereas undetectably low doses of certain toxins could be lethal (botulism toxin, for starters).

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Let's look at this as the inverse, and therefore ill-posed problem it really is

      Don't worry some "genius" will mix in a healthy dose of A.I into the solution. For moar batter analysis.

  10. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
    Boffin

    IR spectroscopy will never be anything like a tricorder for one simple reason: infrared radiation doesn't penetrate much further than normal light, meaning all you get is a surface reading. Some things will vary in ways they don't in the visible spectrum(and vice versa), but almost never in any way that says "this is safe" or "this is dangerous".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Upvote but...

      AFAIK they do sell hand held X-Ray spectrometers. You need to wear lead lined gloves though.

      1. elgarak1

        Re: Upvote but...

        No, lead-lined gloves you do not need. The bigger problem is that you need to push the spectrometer right into your food to get a reading of it, otherwise the air absorbs all you wanna read (mostly electrons coming of the sample)... makes cleaning, sterilising, contamination and transfer a bitch. Even so, you do not get a reading from much deeper inside.

  11. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    except in the rare occasion when we grow something for our own palette

    I think you mean palate, unless you're painting with food.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Or cooking with a palette knife.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      I've been known to paint the toilet bowl with partially-digested cheese. One day I hope to sell it to MOMA and retire on the proceeds.

  12. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Whisky tasting using a bimetallic nanoplasmonictongue

    https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2019/nr/c9nr04583j

    They built a cheap device that can taste any whisky and tell you if it is genuine. They only chose whisky because it's Glasgow Uni and they knew that would make headlines here, it'd work with anything. The principle is it compares a map of known characteristics to a new substance, so in their press release they call it a 'tongue'.

    We have trained dogs that sniff out diseases such as cancer more accurately than cheap devices can, indeed one Perth woman can sniff Parkinson's better than any cheap diagnostic device. My first manager started up a medical diagnostics electronics firm nearly thirty years ago, and I regret not going with him. Not that he made a lot of money, he had a few failed 'tricorder' type products, but because the field is so fertile today.

  13. Tom 35 Silver badge

    You can already pay for one that doesn't exist

    This is not even the first attempt to sell such a thing, there was one on kickstarter before.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tellspec-what-s-in-your-food#/

    Busted video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHjmlQdzpW4

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: You can already pay for one that doesn't exist

      +1 for Thunderf00t (Dr Phil Mason) - one of the best (if a little pompous, but let's face it, he has a lot to be pompous about) science based debunkers out there.

      And I'm with him - when a SCIO can tell the difference between a Golden Delicious, a Granny Smith and a potato, I'll consider buying one.

  14. SVV Silver badge

    Can we imagine a "device" – the functional equivalent of a microspectrometer – for truth?

    Ever heard of a polygraph lie detector?

    They are, provably, nonsense but it doesn't stop certain well known countries using them in prosecutions. I myself invented a handheld truth detector device several years ago, but nobody would believe that it worked. If only I could have thought of some way of convincing them.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Can we imagine a "device" – the functional equivalent of a microspectrometer – for truth?

      How well did the device work? Are you sure they were telling the truth when they said they did not belive you?

  15. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Shine an invisible near-infrared light on something, read the reflected spectrum, analyse it, and voila! Every chemical has a unique spectrographic fingerprint

    I'm assuing that those touting this have never tried to read a Raman infrared spectrum then. Sure, every chemical has its own fingerprint, but those spectra aren't composed of neat individual peaks, like mass-spectrometry, they're sometimes very-broad curves. It would be difficult to identify the spectra of two separate chemicals mixed together, let alone the thousands of individual compounds you're likley to get in a mouthful of food.

    Now, you might be able to do something clever by blasting your food with monochromatic infrared at a very specific frequency to pick up compounds with known narrow vibrational frequencies, but I would think that the IR sources for this would be expensive, and because you're looking at a mixture, not pure compounds, it's quite likley that the other compounds in that mouthful of food will alter a compound's chemical environment enough to shift the peaks you're looking for (e.g. by hydrogen-bonding) , leading to false positives and false negatives.

    Looking at this from both a (lapsed) chemist's perspective, and that of a software dev, I'd say that even if you threw in some fancy-pants pattern recognition using AI, this sort of application is still many decades away.

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      I was wondering much the same thing

      I've only seen one actual IR spectrogram in my life. 60 years ago. In college. And all I know about Raman spectography is what I read in Wikipedia. But I came to much the conclusion you have. I suspect that it's probably possible to use spectrograms in quality control to check product consistency. And I expect you can use spectography to check for specific impurities -- Arsenic, Cadmium, etc and maybe some toxins. But detailed analysis of a meal? How do you know if that strong (probable) CH bond peak is from fructose in honey as opposed to ethanol in beer or the starch in mashed potatoes?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I was wondering much the same thing

        I suspect that it's probably possible to use spectrograms in quality control to check product consistency.

        In general IR spectroscopy does one job well - verifying the purity and identity of a single compound. If you know the spectrum of the chemical you think you are looking at, IR spectroscopy will tell you whether it is that compound, or not, and probably whether it is of high purity or not.

        It's used in chemistry labs to provide an extra data point to establish identity of chemicals, along with other things like hi-res mass-spectrometry, which will tell you the elemental (and isotopic) composition of your sample, NMR, which tells you about the functional groups and structure, and various forms of chromatography, which tell you how many different compounds you actually have in your mixture.

        If someone were to come up with a hand-held GC-MS-NMR machine then they could do real tricorder-type stuff. They'd also be wiping every bank card in the room, because NMR magnetic fields are in the order of 1T (for reference, that's around 200,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field)...

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I'll just scan this sample of cranberry sauce for tox ... what the hell? No reading????

    I'll recalibrate on this smear of strawberry jam ... no reading???

    It's almost as though the (infra) red frequencies are being absorbed by something ...

    8o)

  17. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    "you're reading The Register because we've done our best to be worthy of your trust"

    So I'm the only one that comes here for the endless supply of commentariat snark?

  18. AdamWill

    too late...

    ...the Japanese invented it already:

    https://lostinanime.com/2019/07/kanata-no-astra-02/kanata-no-astra-02-35/

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge

      Re: too late...

      *YUMMY*

  19. Fatman Silver badge

    RE: Imagining a 'device'

    <quote>Can we imagine a "device" – the functional equivalent of a microspectrometer – for truth?</quote>

    You don't need to,it already exists - a bullshit meter!

  20. Andy Baird

    "microspectroscopy sounds like an easy win, low-hanging fruit for a device maker looking for the next must-have feature."

    Already been done--look up Scio, a small, affordable IR spectrometer with associated iOS app that's designed for exactly this purpose (food assessment). I have one, though I haven't really done much with it.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Scio ... I have one

      Does it still need you to tell it what you're looking at so it can tell you what it's looking at?

  21. Richard 111

    Raman spectroscopy would be another technology candidate

    You have to rely on the database of compounds to determine whats in your sample but you can currently analyse simple mixtures and scan across samples although maybe not as large as a plate of food. There are handheld instruments too but the bench top instruments will be more sensitive and accurate. (As another poster notes simple mixtures can be analyzed not complex ones like in a food)

    For the horse meat scandal I believe DNA barcoding using the COX1 gene was used along with other methods. Again miniaturization is on going. DNA bar coding wont detect a chemical poison but could be used to detect a bacteria that made the poison in the case of food poisoning.

  22. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Just sounds like a vain quest for relevance and legitimacy

    .. from the food instagramers.

    or a cynical exploitation of the same.

    "Look at my photo of a humourously shaped turnip! and then check out the attached 17 meg of spectroscopic analysis!! complete with blockchain proof of provenance! 11!1! !! ! ! ... ! ..

    .. !."

    only with emojis, as well

  23. jonnyu1

    Ah yes - a patent Bullsh1t Detector! Always been *very* high on my wishlist. Then tie that to an electroshock device to provide Aversion Therapy to those uttering the nonsense... Mind you, if the perpetrator was deluded and actually *believed* what they were saying, would the device activate, or would it have to be tied to a set of absolute values and truths (if such things exist)? And if we got more truth, could we stand it and what would be the consequences? I think of all the bloody wars created by the Babelfish in THHGTTG. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuumnjJWFO4. Oh well...

  24. Kiwi Silver badge
    Pint

    Could be useful in NZ..

    Although blockchain enthusiasts assure us that they will some day track the provenance of every morsel on our plates, providing all that information on the dinner plate may only confuse a diner.

    Or just overwhelm. We already live in an age with too much information about a whole lotta stuff. Tell people what's in their food (especially when broken down to names of chemicals most people won't understand are quite naturally occurring and quite harmless if not healthy) and you'll not be happy with the results.

    Shine an invisible near-infrared light on something, read the reflected spectrum, analyse it, and voila! Every chemical has a unique spectrographic fingerprint, every food its unique recipe, and every toxin its own signature. All of that can be detected after a moment's scan.

    On that I have some doubts. How deep does the light penetrate? If I go full Ozzy and slather a ton of "tomato sauce" on top of a rather bland supposedly-meat pie, will it be able to detect what's below whatever that stuff is they call 'pastry'? Will it even get as far as that? Or will the inch thick layer of decades-old gunk trying to pass itself off as tomato sauce easily block the scan?

    If I was to inject some ground glass or other nasty into your steak, would you be able to find it before it got into your system? Or would the outer layers be enough to hide whatever i wish to be hidden?

    On top of that sensor we'll see components that can scan food for toxins, break down the fat, protein and carbohydrate content of your dinner, possibly even check your medicines for quality.

    Now that could be useful! Here in KiwiLand(TM) there's been a bit of a fluff about some companies/groups offering drug-testing services (for free I believe but ICBW) at concerts and other large events. Their aim is to help those who buy drugs know if what they're buying is what they're getting, as some people have been given fake stuff. And of course the naysayers have been up in arms and threats of criminal charges and so on (especially from the right-wing antifun twatsquads) because these people are becoming involved in crime and not reporting it. Their idea is these kids will buy, might as well let them know if it is safe to consume, without the testing agency the kids could as easily be consuming rat-poison as ecstasy.

    Having a scanner on your phone and an app that helps alert you could be very helpful!

    Anything that goes into our bodies will be scanned – and it's almost guaranteed that what we'll learn about the purity of our industrial-scale food production will shock us.

    Yeah nah..

    Seriously, no to both. I am trying to be a reasonably 'organic' grower but I have no doubt parts of my soil are contaminated, and even if not as bad as I fear there's going to be some plastics getting into my food chain. But even if what I grow is pure, I have no doubts the other stuff I eat won't always be despite NZ's laws. I also know how amazing our bodies are at dealing with things - and how amazing they are at psychosomatic symptoms that can become life-threatening (think the food is poisoning you and causing heart problems? Well the stress of that alone can lead to problems like heart failure or stroke if it becomes bad enough!).

    It's not likely to bother me none even if I did know, but I ain't going to trouble myself to know. God gave me a body that deals with stuff quite well if I don't abuse it and keep it basically healthy. If I have too many nights like tonight where a large packet of crisps disappears over the course of a couple of hours then I'm going to be having problems (or course, it might also rebel against me for using "crisps" instead of the proper "chips"!), especially when followed up with a large ice-cream.. But I don't do that often anyway - the chips are the first I've had in at least 6 months and I seldom eat ice-cream, plus I did a lot of extra work today and had a very healthy dinner (I think) so pretty sure I'm OK.

    Er, yeah anyway.. Knowing what's in your food won't help. Looking after your body, cleaning up the ground etc - that's what we need to do. When it comes to packaging and chemicals etc... If you think it's OK to put in your compost heap it's probably something you can have around. If not, maybe try to get rid of it - like plastics and most of the other pollutants we dump on our environment. Idiot nutjob greenies etc are all caught up in the bull over carbon/CO2 yet without that all life ends - but we can do without our individually wrapped cucumbers and other fruit/veg. We can do without using one car to drive one person the same trip at the same time as many other people are doing. We can do without our massive fuel guzzlers to try to hide we're little boys/girls insecure about ourselves and need big armour suits to feel tough/superior..... We look after our food and our planet we don't need apps to tell us it's good...

    --> For the rest of the article - tyvm! And El Reg - I don't always trust you (especially after the LP mess :) ) but you're much better than any of my local press, and of course you have the BOFH... And the commentard community here is pretty good too!

    (PS : My view on drug use - if you harm no one have fun. The moment the way you are after using or the cost of using starts to hurt others, then it's time to stop)

  25. Stuart Castle

    "microspectroscopy sounds like an easy win, low-hanging fruit for a device maker looking for the next must-have feature."

    Alternatively:

    "Microspectroscopy sounds like an easy win, low-hanging fruit for a device maker looking to attract venture capture and/or crowdfunding".

  26. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    This is *exactly* what I've been looking for for mushroom foraging.

  27. Demosthenes Locke

    I have an extreme allergy to all seafood. Not just shellfish, but ALL seafood. It's not your typical anaphylactic reaction, either -- my body treats the proteins in seafood as invading organisms and my immune system attacks it. This generally results in hours or even days of violent reactions...um...at both ends. The most mild of reactions will give me horrible cramps and explosive...er...issues...for at least a day or two. How much is necessary to give me a reaction? Well, the amount of anchovy in Caesar salad dressing is enough to make me sick for 2-3 days. When the allergy kicked in (it's an inherited allergy in my family from my father's line -- my sister and I both manifested it at puberty) it was when I ate 3 fried scallops for dinner. My parents ate the same thing and were fine (my father's version keeps him from digesting such food IF he drinks alcohol with it, otherwise, he's generally fine so long as he abstains from wine, beer, or booze with a seafood meal). My sister was already married and out of the house (she got married at 17, and I'm 7 1/2 years younger than her), so she wasn't there. I was hospitalized for the better part of a week and almost died.

    I like the idea of being able to scan my food somehow and determine if it contains hidden seafood ingredients. Food from other countries or cultures is the most suspect, Asian food in particular, because they make sauces and broths using various forms of fish and don't even consider it an "ingredient". The worst offenders are oyster sauce in Chinese food, nuoc mam (fermented fish sauce) in Korean, Thai, or Vietnamese dishes, and bonito, a dried fish flake used to make the ubiquitous "dashi" broth in Japanese cuisine. They generally don't even think of these as ingredients, but just as part of the culinary background noise, and don't tell you when they're present. It's like Caesar dressing in Western cuisine -- I had NO idea there were anchovies in it, and kept wondering why I was always getting ill from it. It couldn't ALL be spoiled, after all!

    So, if someone can come up with a way to detect the "signature" of foods or ingredients from fish-based sources, I'm all for it. I just don't BELIEVE the companies who claim they can already do it. There have been a couple of crowdfunded products that claim they can do it, but I just don't think it's possible for the prices they say they can deliver it. At least, not YET. The sensor technology just isn't there for a consumer price point. So I'm going to have to wait until the tech catches up with the economics. I suspect I'll die before they can make it as affordable as a 4-banger AC mains current calculator was in the mid-70's.

    So far, alligator is the only water-living creature I've been able to eat without getting sick..but then, I can also eat snake (rattlesnake is tasty) without ill effect, so another reptile makes sense. But everything else from crayfish to shark can land me in the hospital. I would love to see someone invent technology that I can afford that'll help keep me safe from my own meals!

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      But everything else from crayfish to shark can land me in the hospital. I would love to see someone invent technology that I can afford that'll help keep me safe from my own meals!

      Given the masses of pollutants us twits are dumping into our oceans, you're probably not missing much! I don't eat much fish but am starting to cut back on the amounts I do eat. We need to be doing a lot better on this!

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