How food scanners will revolutionize the restaurant industry

It seems like something straight out of Star Trek, but soon people will have access to technology that'll tell them exactly what's in their food.

According to the Washington Post, three companies are working on this food scanner technology. TellSpec and SCiO, are working on handheld scanners designed for consumer use. The third company, Target, is starting to implement optical scanning in its supply chain.

It would mean that diners could find out exactly what's in the meals you're serving. They'll know instantly if they're given real lobster or substitute meat. They'll also be able to find out how many calories are in their meal (ACA-supporters and health gurus will love that), how much protein, carbs, sugar and sodium are in it, or if there are any traces of elements they're allergic to still present.

SCiO is one of the three main companies working on food scanning technology.

The technology is still a bit off, however. For the devices to work they need access to a large library that knows the difference between an apple and a salmon, an egg from chocolate, bread from butter, etc. The databases will also need to know the difference between food sub-types (i.e., not just apple but Fuji apple).

It's a lot of work. But handheld scanners could be ready for consumers sometime during the next eight years. Smaller "rice-size" scanners that can fit in smartphones is a little further off.

Food scanners perfect for restaurants

Of course, it's not just diners that will benefit from this technology. Restaurants will, too.

Imagine being able to scan the meat and produce you buy to find out it's true freshness, if it's been exposed to harmful chemicals or is carrying deadly disease. You'll be able to, with absolute confidence, tell your guests exactly what they're eating and know that what you're serving them is top of the line in terms of quality.

Food scanners like Tellspec can tell restaurant managers and diners alike what's in their food, including calorie count, percent fat/protein/carbs, fibers and sugars.

State and federal governments are already trying to better inform US citizens what they're eating. Technology like this would make it a helluvalot easier, plus put restaurants in the driver's seat of being well-informed experts for their guests.

If knowledge is power than food scanning is a powerful tool. It's revolutionary.

What do you think of this food scanning technology? How do you think it'll change the restaurant industry? Let us know in the comments below.