Tomatoes Salmonella

Want to know if it's safe to buy an unknown foodstuff or medicine when you're already at the store? You'll have that option soon. In step with the White House's open data efforts, the FDA has launched OpenFDA, a platform that makes it easy for apps to fetch public health data. Developers only need to implement some search code to pull up information; before this, they had to sift through reports or make special requests. OpenFDA only provides data on adverse drug reactions and medication mistakes right now, but it should expand to recalls and labeling after the current trial phase. You'll have to wait for the first FDA-savvy apps to roll out. Still, it shouldn't be too long before you can walk up to the drugstore counter with confidence.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian]

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FDA makes it easy for apps to give you public health data