Do you know what's in your food?
It is estimated that 70% of all grocery items in the United States contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Despite countless warnings from scientists and doctors, these foods are not regulated at all by the government, and therefore it has been next to impossible for the average consumer to know exactly what he or she's been eating.
Not anymore. The Center for Food Safety has launched a free mobile application for smartphones called the True Food Shoppers Guide, a program that allows shoppers to quickly and easily identify grocery items that contain genetically engineered ingredients.
The True Food Shoppers Guide allows you to search by food category, brand name or food type to illuminate which companies are GMO-free (listed in green) and GMO-junkies (listed in red). It's easy to quickly bring up listings - from cereals to baby food, condiments to fresh produce - and check the status of their genes - natural or mutant?
Along with the search features, the application provides a good deal of information on the basics of GMOs; for example, it identifies the most commonly modified ingredients (corn, soy, canola and cotton). More than a shopping guide, it's a teaching tool that also gives simple tips on buying organic food, highlights recent news on the genetic modification warfront and provides information on rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone).
Even better, the True Food Shoppers Guide provides a call to action for those concerned about America’s food supply. Next to the listing for a company that uses GMOs such as Post or Kellogg's, that organization’s contact information is given so that consumers can make known their desires for groceries free from genetic engineering and honesty in food labeling known. The app’s “Take Action” section also gives contact information for state and federal agencies so that shoppers can demand a higher emphasis on safety and accountability from our officials.
In this way, the True Food Shoppers Guide is much more than a list of brands that put genetically modified organisms in their food without telling us - it is a tool for advocacy that can be used not only to educate the smartphone owning populace, but also to call them to action to get involved with our food sources and hold America’s legislators and corporations accountable for what they are feeding our children.
The Center for Food Safety no doubt hopes that next time you are in line at the grocery store, instead of checking out Britney’s new bikini or drooling over a chocolate bar, you will use the time to sign an online petition, send a quick email to your Senator or call up ConAgra and let them know that you, the shopper, demand GMO-free food.
As the government continues to fail to protect individual citizens in favor of corporate interests, consumers must arm themselves with the knowledge necessary to make healthy grocery choices, and the True Food Shoppers Guide puts that knowledge in the palm of your hand, literally.
The True Food Shoppers Guide application is currently available for iPhone and Droid, with plans to develop a version for Blackberry as well. For more information, please visit the website of the Center for Food Safety.