Yuka App: The Underlying Chemicals in Food and Cosmetics

Alexandra Kouropteva, Staff Writer

   Finding products and food that are healthy and don’t have harmful chemicals in them can be challenging. In 2017, Benoit Martin, François Martin, and Julie Chapon created an app called Yuka, which helps users find out what is in their everyday items, uses, etc. 

   The Yuka app works by scanning the barcodes of food and other personal care products and then giving you information on what positive and negative ingredients are in the items. The platforms rate the products out of 100, determined by the negative impact on the consumer’s health, and the benefits. The scores for food are divided by the nutritional quality of 60%, the presence of additives of 30%, and the last 10% is the organic dimension. But for cosmetic and personal care products they classify them into four risk categories, with risk-free being a green dot, low risk a yellow dot, moderate risk an orange dot, and hazardous being a red dot.

   For example, when scanning a Milani rose powder brush it showed that it got a score of 38 out of 100, with a “moderate risk” orange dot. The reason for the poor rating was that it had some ingredients that are health risks like aluminum starch octenyl succinate. When clicking on this ingredient it explains the health risks along with the details and their scientific sources. Also, if you scroll down the app, gives you recommendations on other products that are healthier. 

   Junior Mia San Angelo explained: “I use Yuka quite often, I like to eat healthy for me and because I do dance so it’s good to be in shape. Whenever I try out new food I also use Yuka to make sure what I’m eating is healthy.”

   However, there have been many people that have expressed their problems with Yuka. Some have noticed that when scanning the same items and food on different phones they were given different ratings and reviews. There have even been cases when the ingredients list and review were inaccurate, showing that something is good when in truth it is bad. One of the reasons for this is that when Yuka does not have information in its system on an item that is scanned, users can put in the information for such items. This can lead to people putting false or inaccurate information. Junior Anthony Suarez said, “when I go to use Yuka I expect things to work properly. Even though it may seem like a small problem I’ve been trying to keep my skin clear, and when something is wrong and the ingredients are bad it can set me back tons.”

   Overall, Yuka is an app that can benefit the lives of many people, especially as more research is put into ensuring that the information it provides is accurate and up-to-date.