You probably already use your iPhone to get directions, play music, or look up movie times, but did you know you could use it to track your food from farm to fork?
iPhone applications have quite a bit to offer on the food front. If you’re in St. Louis and you must know where the closest Filipino restaurant is, iWant, Urban Spoon, or Yelp applications can help you in a jiffy. You can also use iPhone apps to find an open table at a nearby restaurant, track calories and ingredients, or calculate your tip.
As more stories emerge about the complexities and risks of the globalizing and highly-processed food supply, more consumers are looking for ways to get more information about the food on their plates and there are a couple of promising apps that help meet this growing demand.
A Guide to Food Safety iPhone Applications: Today’s Featured App: HarvestMark
California-based YottaMark, Inc., creator of HarvestMark, a traceability system created for the produce industry, is launching a free iPhone app that will enable consumers to trace their fresh food back to the field.
“As the world turns, there’s a crop of watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash ready to tell the story of their lives. And these little dramas are showing up on the small(er) screen,” said HarvestMark in a statement. “A new iPhone app lets consumers trace the origin of coded produce–while they’re in the store–using their smartphone.”
Currently, consumers can go to HarvestMark.com and type in the HarvestMark Code located directly on the product to learn more about where the item was grown. The iPhone app will simply give consumers mobile access to the tracing information.
Kroger is the first major company to use the system–the company now offers pre-washed, ready-to-serve packaged salads with HarvestMark codes.
“Companies that are transparent about their product’s history help demystify the farm-to-fork process and build trust with fretful foodies,” said HarvestMark. “For Millenial Moms who are tech-native, it’s a no brainer for them to expect their iPhone to connect to farmers they don’t even know. Dialing for data is a high-tech way of thumping a watermelon or squeezing a zucchini.”
Though HarvestMark’s system is not widely used today, Congress is considering legislation to require greater traceability from food producers. If adopted, HarvestMark, or similar case-level traceability systems, could very well become the norm in the not-so-distant future.