CodeCheck would like to make the long and complicated lists of product ingredients transparent and comprehensible, and enable consumers to make confident purchasing decisions. CodeCheck therefore relies on reputable experts and data sources, such as the European Commission or the California Department of Public Health, for rating ingredients. A list of all expert assessments and data sources used by CodeCheck can be found in the app under More. These independent organizations are active internationally, or are state institutions under continual supervision. CodeCheck also relies on ratings compiled by third-parties, such as Greenpeace, for example to evaluate palm oil in foods and cosmetics.
CodeCheck draws on different data sources in order to reveal the variety of ingredients in cosmetics such as dimethicone, titanium dioxide, or formaldehyde. Among other sources, information is drawn from the European Commission for ingredient descriptions and is used as a basis for rating information from the Consumer Center or the California Department of Public Health. If no suitable data sources are available, the ingredients are evaluated by CodeCheck’s own scientific department. As a rule, all standard product ingredients are rated.
Based on the packaging information, CodeCheck evaluates the nutritional value of 100 grams of a given food. This includes the fat (saturated and unsaturated), sugar, salt, and calorie content. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) takes these values and provides a daily nutritional guideline for your health. CodeCheck, reveals these calculations in each product by illustrating them in red or green.
In cooperation with German consumer organizations, more than 300 food additives/ E-numbers are still being assessed.
Check products with the rating circle
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Thanks to the rating circle for cosmetics and food, you can visualize whether a product has more positive or negative properties.
Green areas represent the proportion of beneficial ingredients, and red areas the proportion of ingredients that have been rated bad or unhealthy.
The more red there is in the rating circle, the more discerning you should be of the product. It may have a variety of unhealthy or environmentally harmful ingredients.
COMPOSITION OF THE COSMETIC RATING CIRCLE
To calculate the green and red portions of cosmetic products, the ingredients are divided into two groups:
Red group: is composed of ingredients that are either rated as “significant concern” or “high concern” and may contain components such as palm oil.
Green group: includes all ingredients that have been rated “low concern,” “no concern identified,” “only individual rating possible,” or “no rating available.”
COMPOSITION OF THE FOOD RATING CIRCLE
The rating circle is a further development of the Nutritional Traffic Light. Half of the circle is based on the assessment of nutritional values, and the other half on the rating of ingredients. The calculation and creation of the rating circle is only possible when all four categories of nutritional values are recorded for a product.
To calculate the green and red portions, the ingredients are divided into two groups:
Red group: consists of ingredients that are rated “limit consumption” or “not recommended.” They may be derived from endangered species of fish, or palm oil.
Green group: includes all ingredients that are rated as “no concern identified” or that have not been rated.
In addition, the four categories of nutritional values (fat, saturated fatty acids, sugar, and salt) are used for calculation and are divided into two groups. The values “low” and “medium” are assigned to the green group and the value “high” to the red group.
If, however, one of the four nutritional values for fat, saturated fatty acids, sugar, or salt is so high that it not only reaches the nutritional value of “high” (e.g. 20g of fat), but doubles that (i.e. 40g of fat), this doubling is indicated by shifting one of the green group’s ratings into red.
If one ingredient has two ratings because it is assessed on both its health and environmental affects, CodeCheck will assign the ingredient to the lower of the two ratings.
SIMPLIFIED CALCULATION OF THE RATING CIRCLE
The ratio between ingredients in the green and red group is calculated for the cosmetic rating circle.
A cosmetic product contains three red (high concern) ingredients and eight green (no concern identified).
As 3 / (3 + 8) = 0.27, the red portion amounts to 27%.
As 8 / (3 + 8) = 0.73, the green portion amounts to 73%.
For foods, the ratio between the red and green groups is calculated separately. First, for their nutritional guidance, second, for their ingredients and lastly they’re summed and halved.
In the nutritional guideline, a food has one red (high, doubled value) rating and three green (low). Furthermore it consists of two red (not recommended) and nine green (no concern identified) ingredients.
As 1 / (1 + 3) = 0.25, the red nutritional guidance portion amounts to 25%.
As 3 / (1 + 3) = 0.75, the green nutritional guidance portion amounts to 75%.
As 2 / (2 + 9) = 0.18, the red ingredients portion amounts to 18%.
As 9 / (2 + 9) = 0.82, the green ingredients portion amounts to 82%.
As (25% + 18%) / 2 = 0.22 the red portion amounts to 22%.
As (75% + 82%) / 2 = 0.78, the green portion amounts to 78%.
Both food and cosmetics have their respective steps for being rated into red or green groups. The rating circle is based on recognized and rated ingredients. Thus, it will only be displayed when a certain number of ingredients have been identified.