CDC’s New App Answers the Question: ‘Can I Eat This?’

May 8, 2014

I’ll be honest: When I had only heard the name of the new mobile app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I thought, “Interesting — another dieting app to add to my phone.”

So wrong was I.

In fact, the only way you’re going to lose weight with this traveler’s app is if you don’t use it. And by “lose weight” I mean involuntary weight loss from retching over a large porcelain bowl—or worse, from being hospitalized for severe dehydration—having contracted food poisoning or a spectacular case of diarrheal disease while traveling abroad.

Eewwww, right?

Can I Eat This?, available for iOS and Android users, quickly answers everything from the age-old “Can I drink the water in … ?” to the more specific “Can I eat raw, chopped vegetables in Venezuela?”

Screen captures of the CDC's Can I Eat This section of the Travelers' Health iTunes App

With prompts that guide you through a series of short questions, the app is super-easy to use, wherever you roam. Just select the country in which you are traveling from the long list, tell the app whether you are about to eat or drink, and then it drills down from there. (Plus: You don’t need a data connection to access the app’s advice.)

Heading to Morocco? (It’s on my list.) Well, according to the CDC, you probably don’t want to drink any water with ice in it. Or milk you don’t get straight from the carton. Tea made with boiling water is “probably OK to drink.” (And thank goodness for that because from what I understand, authentic Moroccan mint tea is to die for—but in a good way.)

The bottom line? Don’t spend your next vacation or important business trip camped out on somebody’s bathroom floor. Download this app right now before you even pack a bag.Don’t worry: You can download this and other cool mobile government apps with just a few clicks from our Apps Gallery.

Screen captures of the CDC's Can I Eat This section of the Travelers' Health iTunes App