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Find: GoodGuide Transparency Toolbar

A tool to help you cut through the bullshit while shopping online

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Corporations go to great lengths to convince us that their products are plucked straight off the vine by smiling farmers, packaged ever so tenderly and whisked off to supermarket shelves. Whether it's a Lays ad with a woman in a chef's coat sniffing a bunch of fresh basil while sprinkling salt on potato chips or Chipotle's latest, oddly moving, animated short featuring Willie Nelson singing Coldplay's "The Scientist" as a farmer transforms his agribusiness back into a family farm, advertisers know how to sell us the sunlit splendor of the artisanal dream.

Luckily, GoodGuide--the respected ethical pocket consumer guide--will help you cut through the bullshit while shopping online. GoodGuide recently released the Transparency Toolbar, which gives products on amazon.com a numerical ethical rating and snap rating of "pass," "fails" or "alert." Once you install the toolbar, you can create filters based on criteria like nutrition, controversial ingredients, animal welfare, energy efficiency and human rights.

We looked up Burt's Bees Garden Tomato Toner to see if the plump, leafy tomato on the packaging was any indicator of the quality of the stuff inside. The Good Toolbar gave the product a 7.8 out of 10, but listed it as being an "alert" item because it contains controversial ingredients. The toolbar also gives quick stats of other similar items. Looks like the John Master Organics Bearberry Toning Mist is the slightly better choice.