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Monday, March 16, 2009 

Good Guide

Good news for those who want to know.
GoodGuide, a Web site that rates the impact of a wide range of consumer products on health and the environment, is adding more than 30,000 packaged foods to its database today in response to user demand.

"The No. 1 request from users was food information. People wanted us to rate food on: What is in it? Is it safe? Where is it from?" said GoodGuide founder Dara O'Rourke, an associate professor of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.

Among the companies and products examined are Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nabisco, Heinz, Hains, Celestial Seasoning, Yoplait, Kashi and even Boca Burgers.

....Other factors taken into account include whether the product includes genetically modified organisms, trans fat or fructose. Information is available on how far packaged foods were shipped, whether the animals used to make them were treated humanely and if products are Fair Trade or organically certified.

"We rate the additives, colors, etcetera, and ask if they are hazardous," said O'Rourke, adding, "We have colors used here that are banned in Europe."

Shoppers with an interest in corporate behavior also will find useful information. Users will see, for example, that Horizon milk was purchased by Dean Foods, a large corporate dairy that has been criticized for the treatment of its cows. -

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