An iPhone application has been created to help consumers make informed choices about what they food in their mouths. The FoodSwitch app, created by health researcher The George Institute for Global Health and insurance company Bupa uses a barcode scanner to bring up traffic light information.
Australian consumer watchdog Choice has been campaigning for the introduction of a “traffic light” labeling system since 2009 and although the government has been resistant to bring this in as legislation, it seems the idea has been grabbed with both hands and made into an application for iPhone uses, with Android versions to come.
CHOICE has been campaigning for traffic light-style labelling on the front of food products and we were pleased to see food and health ministers from around Australia and New Zealand commit to the introduction of an interpretive front-of-pack labelling system. Interpretive systems like traffic lights translate the complex, numerical information on the back of food labels and present the information in a format that can be understood at a glance.
Ministers want the new system to be agreed on by the end of 2012 and CHOICE will continue to advocate for effective, interpretive front-of-pack labelling. In the meantime, we welcome the FoodSwitch app as it will provide consumers who have iPhones with a tool that will help them make healthier decisions.
I haven’t used the app yet but I’m dying to give it a go. This is one step towards educating the public about food choices, and something I strongly support. There is a lot of misinformation out there and reading every label while you’re at the supermarket just isn’t practical.
What do you think about the traffic light system? Would it make your weekly shop easier? Have you tried the app yet?
Photo: FoodSwitch app from Choice.
Tamsin Howse has written 179 posts.
Tamsin is a wife, stepmother and blogger with a passion for people and relationships, fashion and beauty, and an inability to successfully complete household tasks. Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of KiKi & Tea.
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