Local man creates app that sends food allergy alerts

CHAMBERSBURG- It was a bagel that led Tim Mussmon to develop a potentially life-saving app for people with food allergies.

But his story really starts with peanut butter. Mussmon and his wife, Jennifer, gave their son a tiny amount of peanut butter when he was 2, and it caused the toddler to break out in hives from head to toe and struggle to breathe.

It turned out the boy was allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. So from then on the Mussmons had to be alert about what their son ate. They were able to monitor food recalls and pay attention to the news,  but it was while watching the news one night this past spring that was the breaking point.


There was a recall on a certain type of bagel that they were planning to feed their son for breakfast the next day. The bagels were cross-contaminated with peanuts. If Mussmon hadn't heard that report on the recall, his son would have eaten a bagel contaminated with peanuts and been in trouble.

"I thought, 'man, there's got to be a better way,'" he said.

This experience led Mussmom to develop an app called AllertMe. It takes updates from the FDA about food recalls on the eight major allergen food groups - eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soybeans, tree nuts, wheat and shellfish - and safety alerts, such as glass being in food or beverages, and sends them to people via text message to warn them of potential dangers.

"I did this for a couple reasons. One, I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of kids or people with food allergies. I want to be able to give them a tool that is useful for them that has a real purpose, and I want my son to have something that he can say 'this is made for me.'  I did it because my son has a food allergy and I want to protect him," Mussmon said. "We did it with a potential motive in mind to really just impact lives, to create a tool for people who suffer from food-related allergies every day and to give them something they can lean on and not have to just worry about it."

Mussmon and his wife founded the company Alllergy Defender LLC and partnered with Cross and Crown, a local company that works with businesses to develop Internet sites and does a lot of marketing, branding, product positioning, website design and app development, to create the app.

The app allows users to only receive information pertinent to their situation, so they don't have to get notifications on every recall and safety alert issued by the FDA.

Mussmon's major goal is that a cure for food allergies be discovered. He hopes that he can make a difference by creating  awareness of the issue, not just locally but at the production level.

"If I can create an awareness, have an ease-of-use tool for people who have the allergies, if I can take the information and push it to them, why not?

"At the end of the day, it's something my son can look at and be proud of. I just want to make a difference. I want people to understand the severity of food allergies. I want people that have food allergies to have a tool they can feel good about," Mussmon said.

AllertMe is available for iOS and Android. For more information, visit www.allertme.com.

Source: http://www.publicopiniononline.com/story/news/local/2015/12/27/local-man-creates-app-sends-food-allergy-alerts/77696902/

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