Smartphones Could Identify Genetically Modified Foods

Smartphones Could Identify Genetically Modified Foods

Speaking before Congress Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that smartphones could be a good tool for identifying genetically modified foods. He said that it’s a great way not to have to take sides in the genetically modified foods labeling battle.

UCFoodObserver reports that consumers “could just use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages.” These barcodes could identify GMOs and other aspects of the food ingredients.

Read more about why GMO labeling should be mandatory

According to the Associated Press:

The Food and Drug Administration handles most food-package labeling, so Vilsack’s idea isn’t an official proposal. But the Agriculture secretary suggested it could head off the debate between the food industry and those who have pushed for package labels that identify GMOs.

While it’s unclear whether such an idea would ever gain traction, GMO labeling advocates including Scott Faber of Just Label It aren’t too keen on the idea because they say that consumers shouldn’t need a smartphone to know what’s in their food.

But to some degree, smartphone apps can already provide consumers with a host of information regarding GMOs. For example, the NON-GMO Project Shopping Guide app can provide a list of foods that have already been certified through the program. Additionally, ipiit, is an app that allows you to designate which ingredients that you want to avoid. While it’s often used to avoid allergens, you could also list common GMO ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, non-organic sweeteners, and cottonseed oil for example. CheckGMO is another app that allows you to pinpoint foods that are likely to contain GMOS. The app can also look for NON-GMO restaurants. The knowledge-thirsty consumer already has a lot of tools at their fingertips.

[Infographic] The 8 Most Common GMO Foods

[Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more about GMOs and how to avoid them, click here to sign up for Naturally Savvy’s Non-GMO Get Healthy Challenge.]

Image: Cheon Fong Liew

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Sara Novak specializes in health and food policy writing for Discovery Health. Her work has also been featured on TreeHugger,, TLC Cooking, and Animal Planet. After graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Sara headed up the communication efforts for a national scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Sara has also handled copy writing and public relations for a global environmental consulting firm. She loves fiddling with healthful recipes, traveling, and exploring life atop her yoga mat. Today, Sara lives in Charleston with her husband and two lovable cocker spaniels, Madison and Bella.