Anyone with a smart phone, be it the Droid or iPhone, has undeniably come across the use of applications. For those who wish to use their handy devices to investigate what they put in their body, “What’s on my food?” – a project of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) – is a unique source for such a venture of personal edification. The app sports an easy to navigate platform and gives us the “need to know” on many of our daily treats.
Free from the App store, the focus of “What’s on my food?” is straightforward. First, you get a brief overview, which then immediately prompts you to head to the list of foods categorized by PAN. From almonds to frozen winter squash, simply clicking on your favorite food gives you the total number of pesticide residues, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and any other health threatening substances. The app doesn’t stop there though.
Flipping to the next tab, you’ll come across the FAQ’s page. Here, the app provides an abundance of information on the FDA, its testing methods, and some quick notes to clarify the rhetoric of pesticides. While perusing this section, I learned that even organic food succumbs to pesticides via water, air, and dust (often because of neighboring, pesticide using farms). However, we organic food consumers shouldn’t fret. Pesticides remain to be much less present on organic foods, making them much safer to eat.
Finally, the last two sections of “What’s on my food?” prompt users to “Take Action” (signing a petition to pressure President Obama to get onboard with healthy food sources) and a “Learn More” (a blurb about PAN and its mission).
To that note, PAN itself has a unique background. For one, the organization touts a 27-year history of fighting against the use of pesticides. To this end, they clearly state the issue they pivot themselves against: “Pesticides are the linchpin of industrialized agriculture.” As one could imagine, PAN prides itself on battling against large chemical producers, as well as their death grip on the FDA and agricultural community around the world.
Their mission: loosen that control, support grassroots science, and better the harvest in order to supply consumers with healthy, untainted agricultural products. Furthermore, they argue that an essential means to achieving their goals is public engagement. In their effort, PAN works with hundreds of partner organizations on informing the public while at the same time developing environmentally conscious science regarding the treatment of food.
Though this task is surely a difficult one, PAN has generated strong public support.
After first exploring the app and its provider, I promptly downloaded it and still haven’t stopped checking each food I come into contact with. That said, I feel confident in giving “What’s on my food?” a personal five stars. It succeeds in providing reliable information, its mission is both worthwhile and honorable, and the layout is easy to navigate.
Like this app, the Pesticide Action Network has a winning formula:
“Sound science + people telling their own stories = unimpeachable truth.”
Download “What’s On My Food?” via the App Store and learn more by traveling to http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/