Greek App Can Warn Consumers of Dangerous Products

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

ATHENS – If you’ve ever wondered what’s in a food or cosmetic you’re buying, a new smart phone application developed by the Greek startup Ingredio can tell with a quick scan in the store aisle whether there are dangerous or toxic ingredients.

Products such as shampoos and shower gels are often rife with chemicals and foods with preservatives which can be immediately detected by Ingredio, which  scans the ingredients of a product for any flagged chemicals and informs users of possible risks.

“An increasing number of consumers are expressing such concerns, as, due to the long, unknown chemical names and the codification of ingredients, they cannot discern what is safe, what has been labeled as potentially toxic, allergenic or not,” chemist Zoe Cournia, who founded the company and app told Kathimerini.

Once consumers have downloaded the Ingredio app on their smartphones, they can take a photo of the ingredients label of a product which the app transforms into text before checking each ingredient against those in the chemicals database created by Ingredio.

The data come from sources including the European Commission, the World Health Organization and the US National Institutes of Health. Within seconds the results appear on the phone’s screen and are color-coded according to the potential risk, Cournia said.

The company said foods and cosmetics contain unique chemicals as additives in foods and chemicals and the app can detect them to help those with allergies or wanting safer and natural alternatives to sort out those they don’t want to buy or use.