The Use of GMO ingredients in food has reached an all time high, with as much as 85% of processed food containing GMOs.
Grocery shopping has also been unreasonably complicated by the lack of mandatory GMO labeling laws, and as concerns over the risks of GMOs grow, many consumers are looking for help avoiding the hidden GMOs in grocery stores.
Luckily help is already available in the form of a few FREE mobile apps. GMO Inside took a look at what tools are available and here are our top apps for the GMO concerned:
Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide – This efficient shopping guide app is brought to you by Non-GMO project and their Product Verification Program – the only third party verification and GMO labeling program in North America. Within the app, you are directed to retailers that have non-GMO options close to your designated city or zip code, and non-GMO shopping options can be searched by product type, brand name, product name, or key word. Guidelines for avoiding GMOs, a list of common GMO crops, and a directory of ingredients that are at risk for GMO contamination are also included in the app. I found this guide to be most useful when I was working on my non-GMO shopping list before heading out to the store, and when looking for some basic and reliable GMO information to share with friends.
Shop No GMO – Brought to you in cooperation by Non-GMO Project and the Institute for Responsible Technology, this app is both a Non-GMO shopping guide and a link to the resources of IRT, a GMO authority and GMO Inside Steering Committee member. This app includes tips for avoiding GMOS, a list of ingredients that are commonly genetically engineered, and other resources that are great for educating yourself and starting conversations with others about GMOs. A helpful feature of this app is that you can create a non-GMO shopping list within the app by selecting your personal favorites out of the hundreds of verified Non-GMO products provided. Even though this app has not been updated in a little while, it is an essential tool for those concerned about GMOs.
True Food Shopper’s Guide- Just like the previous two tools, this free app provides those concerned with GMOs with strong facts, simple tips for avoiding GMOs, and a shopping guide that can be organized and searched by brand name, product, or food type. The informational resources are well-organized and extensive within this app’s “more info” tab, and I really appreciated the inclusion of the policies of major supermarkets towards GMOs and rbGH use. The “Take Action” tab of the app connects you, via an advocacy email template, to companies producing products with GMOs in them. This advocacy option is a very nice addition to the app, and the Center for Food Safety has created another must-have tool for those looking for a mobile boost to their GMO concerns.
Fooducate: Diet Tracker & Healthy Food Nutrition Scanner – This app uses the camera on your mobile device as a barcode scanner, and diagnoses the nutritional benefits and risks of a scanned product. Scanning an item is very straightforward and can be quite fun, but if you do not have a product in front of you, there is still the option to type in a food item or browse the database by name or category. The Fooducate app compares the food item you are interested in with other products in the same category, and will provide a grade and if appropriate, healthier alternatives you should be looking for. This app is customizable, points out potential GMO sources, provides valuable nutrition information, and the scanning option can bring a fun interactive element into your GMO research and avoidance. I made most use of this app as a tool to show friends and family the dangerous ingredients that are hidden in items they already have in their homes, and I also appreciated the app as a tool to provide healthier alternatives to products of concern.
The Buycott app helps consumers organize their spending around the causes they care about and oppose those they do not. Users can join or create custom campaigns that support or boycott businesses that exhibit or violate customized business principles. When a product bar code is scanned by a mobile device the app will trace the product’s ownership back to its top parent company while identifying any campaign relationships. When a product bar code is scanned, users are also given an interactive family tree diagram of a product’s ownership all the way up to its top corporate parent company. Included in this is the contact information for brands and companies so that a user can easily let a company know that they are either supporting or avoiding their products. The database is still developing (the app is relatively new) and users are encouraged to enrich the database by inputting the names of products, contact information, or background info on any item that the app does not already recognize. This is a very promising app for consumers who want to be proactive and get more information about the background of their spending decisions.
Healthy Diet & Grocery Food Scanner – A customizable app that assesses foods based on your age, gender, health goals, diet needs, and ingredient and nutrition preferences. This app categorizes foods and gives you information to better manage health concerns with understandable nutritional explanations. There is no weight given to GMOs in this app, but this app does have a very useful recommendation tool that provides healthier alternatives that match up with the diet preferences you customize yourself. My take on this is that if you are willing to learn the simple rules for avoiding GMOs and the basic guidelines for reading nutritional information and ingredients, this Shopwell app is a useful alternative food item resource and healthy eating tool.
These apps supplement the resources GMO Inside has been bringing together for you, and we invite you to take a deeper look at both our resources and these apps. These are all tools that can help you become more informed, help you make healthier choices, and help connect yourself to the food you are eating.
All of the above apps are FREE, and after you check them out we would love to hear your experiences with them. If you believe there are any other apps that you think GMO Insiders should know about, please share them with us as well in the comments.
* This post has been updated from a previous version