the Organic Review: Smartphone App Aiding Fight Against ‘Big Ag’ Including Monsanto

 The Organic Review: Smartphone App Aiding Fight Against ‘Big Ag’ Including Monsanto

May 20, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

In the United States, it’s difficult to go into public without noticing someone that is obese or is clearly suffering from a debilitating health defect. It’s also nearly impossible to come across someone who is not familiar with another who is obese, severely unhealthy, or at least overweight.

Processed foods containing artificial food colorings, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and genetically modified ingredients such as soybean oil or corn starch, is something that millions of Americans consume on a daily basis. The ‘westernized’ eating culture is probably a significant factor when it comes to our health as a nation and being at risk.

For some, they might be eating unhealthy simply because they are careless about their future and health, but for most, they probably don’t have enough time or are uneducated about what foods are best to eat and which ones should be avoided.

If it were as easy as being able to use a Smart Phone application to guide you through the grocery store, warning you about which foods you should eat and which you shouldn’t, wouldn’t you use it? Last month, SLN reported on a free Smart Phone app called Fooducate that is capable of just that. Fooducate allows users to scan barcodes on foods and are shown a total, easy-to-understand food analysis.

Now, there’s an app that could be moving consumers in a similar direction, but this time it deals with those who are looking to avoid purchasing food products that are made by a certain manufacturer and even the manufacturer’s higher-ups.

The Buycott app is actually designed to help users avoid any companies they so wish – not just those related to food. Essentially, the app would give consumers a taste of the free market, allowing the people to avoid the companies’ products by a way of “boycotting” the crony business.

On their website, it explains that, “Buycott helps you to organize your everyday consumer spending so that it reflects your principles.”

During the SOPA/PIPA debate in 2012, a number of companies pushed to pass legislation that reduced online freedom of expression, while other companies fought hard to oppose the legislation. With Buycott, a campaign can be quickly created around a cause, with the goal of targeting companies with a boycott unless they change their position, or buycotting a company to show your support,” explains Buycott’s website as an example.

The app works by enabling users to simply scan a product and allow the phone application to do the rest of the work. “When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments,” details the website.

This might really come in handy for someone who is looking to avoid all food products that are derived from a certain company such as Monsanto Corporation or Kellogg’s. It would have been useful for those who were proponents of California’s GMO labeling initiative, Proposition 37, who were avoiding all products manufactured by companies supporting the “No on Prop 37” campaign.


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