Barcode iPhone App Month Review: GoodGuide



Price: Free | Link to App Store | Tested on iPhone 3G

The GoodGuide iPhone app helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable products while you shop. Scan the barcode of the product and immediately see detailed ratings for health, environment and social responsibility for more than 50,000 products and companies.

Everybody knows that green is the new black.  Part of going green means making conscious decisions regarding what kinds of companies you're supporting and what kinds of products you'll put in and on your body. Luckily, there's an app for that.

The GoodGuide app is an excellent tool. Since the update to Version 3.0 on December 3, 2010, I've found the barcode scanner (powered by Occipital) to be much more responsive. I just scanned a dirty jar of almond butter, the tiny barcode on my kid's gummy vitamins and a wet and crumpled tube of apricot scrub—all returned a satisfying beep/vibration within 3 seconds. The app had a rating for 5 out of 10 random food and health products in my house. When the item is in the database, GoodGuide provides extensive and often frightening information regarding the health, environmental and social performance of the product and the company that makes it. For example, you know that cheap shampoo you bought, the one with all those crazy ingredients? Well, the company that makes it is destroying the planet, but don't worry because you'll probably die of the cancer its giving you before that happens.

The app is an adjunct to, a website I refer to frequently to make sure I am making good choices for my family. Using the website is still easier, but I do pull the app out occasionally in the store when I question the 'naturalness' of a product or feel I am being duped by faux words like “organix”.

It is important to be the masters of our own domains, so to speak. Just because its on the shelf at WallyWorld doesn't mean it is safe to eat, or slather on your body. Services like and the GoodGuide app help us to educate ourselves, make better decisions and ultimately lead happier, healthier lives. Go ahead, I dare you: download the app and start scanning the things you put in and on your body everyday. It might make you think twice.

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