Food Barcodes Track Organic Credentials

Treehugger link to some interesting technology being used in Japanese supermarkets, where organic produce (among other things) are tagged with QR-like barcodes that link to a mobile database containing details such as the item's origin, the composition and organic fertiliser content percentage (as opposed to chemical) of the soil it grew in, the name of the farm it was grown on and whether that farm uses pesticides and herbicides.  Produce is tagged at source, and if customers don't have a compatible cellphone then they can type each item's ID number into an online database for the same information when they get home.

It's exciting seeing the application of different technology in a way you didn't expect.  QR barcodes are yet to catch on in any meaningful way outside of the Far-East, and you'll struggle to the point of failure to find a cellphone in the UK, certainly, which can read the information-packed squares.  Lloyd at Treehugger suggests a QR-Google Maps mashup to track the carbon footprint of each item; personally I think it'd be great to monitor which farms produce particularly tasty items – it's all very well knowing what country your apples come from, but it would surely encourage individual growers to produce extra-special crops if they knew customers might be looking out just for their fruit.

Corporate Knights Forum [via Treehugger]