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Good egg or bad? A German tech firm gives shoppers the answer.

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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

A food contamination scandal has prompted Germans to take extreme measures to avoid eggs. Over recent weeks, more than 100,000 eggs have been destroyed, and 1 in 5 Germans is avoiding eggs altogether, officials say. The scandal – animal feed additive has been proved to contain dioxin – has made headlines, and has increased pressure on Germany’s agriculture and consumer affairs minister to create better standards for food production.

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A small Berlin high-tech company has taken the matter into its own hands, one egg at a time. Expanding its panoply of bar code-scanning software, the company, Barcoo, has come up with a free download that helps shoppers pick out the bad from the good at the market.

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Using their smart phone’s camera, shoppers can scan the number printed on the egg to see if there’s a possibility that the egg could be contaminated. The German consumer agency in Hamburg has published the serial numbers of all farms suspected of contamination.

Tapping German consumers’ increasing demand for information on price comparison and nutritional information of food products and their growing desire to find out whether companies apply social responsibility to the manufacturing of their products, Barcoo’s software can also tell consumers whether the product or company is polluting the environment and if their choice of fish is an endangered species.