Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting Honest About Food Labels

Even if you're a pro at reading nutrition labels, chances are you're not a food scientist. Maybe you are, but for the rest of us it may be hard to decipher exactly what butylated hydroxytoluene is, and whether or not it's safe for you. Well, perhaps now you may set your fears and concerns at ease because a bunch of geniuses (no sarcasm implied - I'm impressed!) have finally come out with an app for both iPhones and androids that clears up all the smoke and mirrors on food labels.

The app, very appropriately called Honest Label, allows you to use your phone to scan the barcode of the food in question, and customize the information you want to know about that food. Instead of sifting through long lists of even longer ingredient names, you can flag key nutrients and a few additives that you're interested in to see if the food is appropriate for you.

While the idea is superb, as I said - I'm impressed - the app itself needs a lot of work as yet. As with anything good, more substance would make this app awesome, but for starters, it needs to work here. I just downloaded it and scanned a bunch of labels, and what did I get? Zip. It doesn't recognize them yet. Unless I'm doing something wrong, there are still lots of barcodes that need to be inputted for this app to be particularly useful. For now, I'll keep playing around and I encourage more people to download it - it's free! Let's see what this thing can do once it's fully up and running!