The Environmental Working Group has long been one of the most trustworthy organizations for people looking to protect themselves and their families from chemicals in the environment, and in their food.
The EWG is the creator of the famous ‘Clean Fifteen’ and ‘Dirty Dozen’ lists which measure and categorize produce based on pesticide residue levels so that shoppers can maximize the value of their organic dollars.
Now, the popular non-profit group (you can donate to them here and follow them on Facebook here) is rolling out its new ‘Food Scores’ database that rates a whopping 80,000 food products based on three categories.
The products are rated based on: Nutrition, Ingredients, and the level of processing they contain. Consumers may search by product, ingredients or brand names.
“The ingredient concerns algorithm focuses on factors such as the likely presence of key contaminants, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, and the health implications of certain food additives,” the EWG’s website states.
A single product score for each food is then calculated, and the foods are rated on a scale of 1 (best) to 10 (worst).
Be Careful: GMOs Not Included in Scores
While the new database is being hailed as a handy tool for simplifying shopping trips, users should be careful to note that according to the EWG, GMO ingredients are not factored into the food scores.
The following is a statement from their website:
“EWG believes that consumers should have the right to know whether their food contains ingredients that have been derived from genetically engineered crops. We are also concerned about the environmental impact of genetically engineered crops and the lack of government oversight over them. This is why the database contains information alerting consumers to the likelihood that a particular product contains ingredients that were genetically engineered. However, we do not factor in the presence or absence of GE ingredients into a product’s score in any way. We suggest that consumers who want to avoid GE ingredients check out EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GE Food and/or purchase food that has been certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified.”
While some fans of the EWG have lamented that GMO content is not factored into the food scores, the organization does offer other ways to shop GMO free.
First is its comprehensive ‘Shoppers Guide to Avoiding Genetically Engineered Food,’ which can be found here.
Secondly, consumers have the ability to filter their searches in the new Food Scores database by clicking boxes indicating “Certified Organic,” “Certified GMO Free” or “Certified Gluten Free.”
Check out the screenshot below to see how:
While the database is a welcome source of info, please note that eating whole, unprocessed and organic foods is always the best choice.
If you’d like to check it out, you can find the ‘Food Scores’ database by clicking here, and also see the video below from the EWG for more info on how to utilize it (it’s also available in a phone app).
What do you think about the new Food Scores database? Will you use it the next time you go to the grocery store ? Let us know in the comments section.
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