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Eating straight from farm to table is a goal we'd we'd all like to achieve. But many of us still rely on the food we purchase from the local grocery store--much of it processed to some extent.
For help with these choices, a new online food database called GoodGuide™ would like to help people assess the health, environmental and social performance of over 5,000 food products you can buy in the grocery store, according a report from creators of GoodGuide.
The company in the past has offered ratings of personal care and household chemical products already rated on its website.
GoodGuide created the food database over the last two years by analyzing the ingredients in over 25,000 products for their health and nutritional impacts, and evaluating the environmental and social impacts of food manufacturing, it says.
Some findings from GoodGuide's new food category:
- 88% of juices exceed the recommended sugar threshold, and 23% contain high fructose corn syrup.
- More than 75% of white bread products contain high fructose corn syrup.
- 44% of milk products contain added sugar.
- 14% of yogurts exceed the recommended sugar threshold, 26% contain high fructose corn syrup, and one-quarter contain artificial colors that are under review to be banned.
- 13% of baby juices contain ingredients that are not allowed in food in the European Union.
- 28% of crackers and 11% of cold cereals contain hydrogenated oils or trans fat.
- 75% of fruit snacks contain added colors.
One registered dietitian, who helped with the analysis, Caitlin Merlo, MPH, says they were surprised "when we looked at the number of children’s food products that contain added colors not allowed in food in other countries, or that contain high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, and high sodium levels.”
Joan Blades, President of MomsRising.org, a nonprofit organization working on economic security for families through policy and culture change, says she believes good GoodGuide will help parents make better choices for their families and possibly lead to the development of healthier food choices.
GoodGuide sees itself as a part of the consumers' increasing demands for better information on the food they consume.
According to a recent survey, 67 percent of consumers reported that Country of Origin Labeling, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, would be extremely important in their buying decisions (Deloitte LLP. 29 Oct. 2008, http://www.deloitte.com/dtt/press_release/0,1014,cid=231441,00.html).
GoodGuide, which emphasizes the contents of processed food, can also help consumers with questions like: Which products should you buy organic? Which products should you buy local? Which products have the largest environmental impact?
Dara O’Rourke, professor at UC-Berkeley, co-founder and CEO of GoodGuide, says, “GoodGuide believes that COOL implementation and GoodGuide food ratings are an important step forward in public information about food.” She says, GoodGuide will continue to partner with nonprofits and academics to encourage greater transparency and public access to timely information on food and other products.
For additional information, visit http://www.goodguide.com.