Posts Tagged ‘ QR tags ’

FDA Nutrition Labels are Getting Makeovers

“The Food and Drug Administration says that updating nutrition labels is a priority this year, although it’s unclear when the labels will change.”

FDA food labels

Getting information from food labels was one of the problems we’ve identified at the start of this project. It would be great to find out where the food comes from — how far did it have to travel? How was it produced? What was the eco footprint for the food we are consuming? We need to be able to make better choices at our local supermarkets. But to do that, we need good information.

Origins of Food — Tracking Food Fraud

There’s an article on BBC: Food Fraud Tackled by Forensic Scientists by Anna-Louise Taylor.

Wine, spirits, meat and even baby food can all be faked, with fraudsters hiding their true origins. Now forensic scientists are clamping down on food fraud, which costs millions in lost revenue and can put the health and safety of the public at risk.

We noticed from looking at the Cost of Chicken crowdmap, that most people who post the information don’t know where their food comes from! This is a problem if we want to understand the quality of our food and minimize the ecological footprint by making good decisions at the supermarket. This is why we thought of creating a smart phone app that would help decode this information.

Cost of Chicken App Idea

So we’ve started the design of our Cost of Chicken App: Eco-Footprint Tracker. (We’re still working out the name.)

It would work something like this:

  1. Work with food producers to place QR Codes on their products. Each code provides a URL with information on the true cost of food: how far it has been trucked to be available locally; how long it has been stored (e.g. apples are stored for months prior to being delivered to supermarkets); how much energy it took to produce the food; and how much the packaging costs. Distance, production and manufacturing, storage, and marketing are all factors that contribute to the total expenditure of our planet’s resources.
  2. Once we have the QR codes, we can quickly add up all of the groceries that are being purchased and generate an approximate size of the eco-footprint for that consumer for that day.
  3. Each person (or family) could have an account that tracks all of their food purchases. This data could be graphed (or displayed in other ways) to allow people to visualize their choices in terms of the ecological consequences.

The app could work even without the QR Codes: a consumer can just enter the type of food they bought, and the app calculates the approximate eco-footprint.

It could look something like this:
QR code tracks the cost of chicken to generate eco-footprint