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A Mobile App to Tell You If Food is Genetically Enhanced in China
Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization with a mission to save our planet. One way is by “campaigning for sustainable agriculture by rejecting genetically engineered organisms, protecting biodiversity and encouraging socially responsible farming.”
Sometimes when I go grocery shopping in Beijing, I look at the fruits and vegetables and think they look incredibly abnormal. They look much bigger and sometimes more vibrant than what I’ve seen in Australia and it makes me question if they have been injected or sprayed with some harmful chemicals that could have detrimental effects on my body. But it is really difficult to know for sure. There have been many scandals from dangerous levels of melamine in milk to fake eggs made with chemicals. Such cases have given people good reason to worry.
In a Time article published in 2008, they reported that Greenpeace conducted a survey and found 65% of consumers in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou who were familiar with GM food preferred natural food. Although there is a law that says genetically modified food must be labelled so, many vendors know don’t because they know it will scare people and consequentially won’t sell as well.
Now Shanghai based, mobile app development company, MobileNow, has helped Greenpeace go mobile in fighting against genetically engineered or modified foods. The key objective was education and arming people with information to make a decision what to buy. Greenpeace lists 400 brands and 20 supermarkets in China to track inventory or genetically modified foods. The use case would be, when you are at a supermarket and are thinking of buying a particular brand of rice for example, you can first check if it is on the Greenpeace list of genetically engineered foods.
To drive user engagement, the Greenpeace app for China has been gamified and of course includes a cute cartoon. The gameplay revolves around feeding a small monster called NoGeMo (闹叽猫) and gauging his reaction to the everyday brands. NoGeMo (闹叽猫) loves non GE food, but will get upset if fed GE brands.
This mobile tool, is a great way to keep people safe and supermarkets accountable for what they sell. More transparency and information, the better.
You can download it here: http://itunes.apple.com/app//id454392845?mt=8