Maintenance Notice

Due to necessary scheduled maintenance, the JMIR Publications website will be unavailable from Monday, March 11, 2019 at 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Who will be affected?


Currently submitted to: JMIR Formative Research

Date Submitted: Feb 21, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Feb 20, 2020 - Apr 2, 2020
(closed for review but you can still tweet)

NOTE: This is an unreviewed Preprint

Warning: This is a unreviewed preprint (What is a preprint?). Readers are warned that the document has not been peer-reviewed by expert/patient reviewers or an academic editor, may contain misleading claims, and is likely to undergo changes before final publication, if accepted, or may have been rejected/withdrawn (a note "no longer under consideration" will appear above).

Peer-review me: Readers with interest and expertise are encouraged to sign up as peer-reviewer, if the paper is within an open peer-review period (in this case, a "Peer-Review Me" button to sign up as reviewer is displayed above). All preprints currently open for review are listed here. Outside of the formal open peer-review period we encourage you to tweet about the preprint.

Citation: Please cite this preprint only for review purposes or for grant applications and CVs (if you are the author).

Final version: If our system detects a final peer-reviewed "version of record" (VoR) published in any journal, a link to that VoR will appear below. Readers are then encourage to cite the VoR instead of this preprint.

Settings: If you are the author, you can login and change the preprint display settings, but the preprint URL/DOI is supposed to be stable and citable, so it should not be removed once posted.

Submit: To post your own preprint, simply submit to any JMIR journal, and choose the appropriate settings to expose your submitted version as preprint.

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Mobile phone applications for food allergies and/or intolerances: A systematic search and quality assessment of the identified applications in Apps Stores.

  • Lucía Tarro; 
  • Floriana Mandracchia; 
  • Elisabet Llauradó; 
  • Rosa Maria Valls; 
  • Rosa Solà; 



Food allergies and intolerances, as adverse reactions to the ingestion, contact or inhalation of a specific food, derivate or additive, are increasing worldwide, whereas mobile phone applications (Apps) are emerging as a promising tool in the management of food allergies and/or intolerances.


The aim of this review is to systemically search and integrate the information of Apps present in Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android) about food allergies and/or intolerances, and to evaluate their quality through the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS) tool.


Apps were searched through specific keywords translated in English, Spanish and Italian language (“food allergy”, “food intolerance” and “allergens”). Inclusion criteria were: ≥ 3/5 minimum users’ star rating as a tool to evaluate Apps’ quality; ≥ 1000 reviews as an indicator of reliability; and last update up to 2017. Eligible Apps were evaluated and searched on PubMed to check if already present in scientific articles. Apps’ features were distinguished into input and output ones, depending on whether the contents were inserted by users or automatically generated. The included Apps were divided according to their function (“food products”, “restaurants” and “meal planners” Apps) and evaluated through the MARS tool comprising: 1) App classification category, collecting general and technical information; 2) App quality category, divided into “objective” (including four sections: engagement, functionality, aesthetics, and information) and “subjective” quality; and 3) App specific section, as optional section to evaluate the perceived impact of the App. Only App quality category and App specific section were rated for the quality assessment. For each section, mean±standard deviations (SD), statistical significance between-sections and between Apps’ function were evaluated.


Fourteen Apps were included: n=12 related to food allergies and intolerances, detecting from 2 to 15 food allergens; and n=2 related to gluten intolerance only. From the MARS quality assessment: a) objective quality scored 3.8±0.4 points (mean± SD of 5 maximum points); b) subjective quality scored 3.5±0.6 points; and c) App specific section scored 3.6±0.7 points. Therefore, Apps resulted in overall acceptable quality, considering ratings ≥ of 3points. From a between-sections comparison, engagement obtained lower scores than functionality, aesthetics and information sections. However, comparing Apps by function, “meal planners” Apps presented higher scores for the engagement section (4.1±0.4 points), than “food products” (3.0±0.6) and “restaurants” Apps (3.2±0.3 points) (P<.05).


The present review integrates information of 14 Apps to help consumers to avoid food allergies and/or intolerances, providing suggestions for future Apps. Specifically, the analysed Apps have acceptable quality despite the MARS engagement section should be further improved in “food products” and “restaurants” function Apps. Additionally, for Apps recommendation, their effectiveness in detecting food allergens should be tested in scientific trials.


Please cite as:

Tarro L, Mandracchia F, Llauradó E, Valls RM, Solà R

Mobile phone applications for food allergies and/or intolerances: A systematic search and quality assessment of the identified applications in Apps Stores.

JMIR Preprints. 21/02/2020:18339

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.18339


Download PDF

Request queued. Please wait while the file is being generated. It may take some time.

© The authors. All rights reserved. This is a privileged document currently under peer-review/community review (or an accepted/rejected manuscript). Authors have provided JMIR Publications with an exclusive license to publish this preprint on it's website for review and ahead-of-print citation purposes only. While the final peer-reviewed paper may be licensed under a cc-by license on publication, at this stage authors and publisher expressively prohibit redistribution of this draft paper other than for review purposes.