iPhone App Puts Organic Food to the Test…Literally

For the discerning grocery shopper/geeky tech lover, the world just got a little warmer and fuzzier. Meet Lapka, the iPhone app that can actually test your organic food products for true “organicity.”

While still in prototype phase, Lapka is positioning itself as a “personal environment monitor” and intends to make it easier for users to test their surrounding environment for humidity, EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) and radiation along with whether or not food products are actually organic.

To test food, an iPhone plug-in accessory takes a sample of the food item and tests the nitrate concentration in the sample. Nitrates are chemicals used in non-organic fertilizers.

Once a food has been tested, Lapka will log the results in a database of sorts so that other users can access the information before making a purchase.

Confusion over marketing terms used in food are at the forefront of California’s Proposition 37—a bill up for vote in November that would require labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients. The bill would also impact use of the term “natural,” which is not currently regulated by the USDA or FDA. Even the term “organic” while regulated by the USDA can mislead customers into a false sense of health about a food. Organic ingredients can be added to otherwise non-organic and even GMO foods while packaging can still give the impression that the product is safe, natural and healthy.

Companies including ConAgra, Frito Lay, Pepsi and Kellogg’s have all faced recent lawsuits over claims that products containing GMOs were natural. The World Health Organization defines genetic modification as something not occurring in nature.

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Image: quacktaculous