Real MHD – The Food Rescue App

Rescuing Food with Open Source Software!

More than 12 million tons of food were thrown away in Germany in 2015, more than 50% of it in households. A key factor is the best before date (abbreviated “MHD” in Germany). If it is exceeded, many throw away the food. The best-before date is often chosen with caution by the industry and, unlike the date of use, does not want to say anything directly about the edibility.

The open-source food rescue app can help here at the latest in August 2020: It will quickly and conveniently inform consumers about how long food can actually be kept and how it can be recognized. The product barcode is simply scanned with the smartphone camera. Unspoiled food needs a real chance of being eaten! This app builds consumer trust regardless of the best before date and is thus consumer protection and environmental protection in the information age.

We are pleased that Matthias Ansorg (member of Fairdirect e.V.) can now implement this project. This is made possible by funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FKZ 01 | S19S28), which he received through Prototype Fund.

As an open source project, we naturally rely on the contributions of a community in the medium term. In particular, this is about collecting information about the respective products and their behavior after the expiry of the best before date, which is then made available free of charge via the food rescue app. In addition, we would like to offer producers and laboratories a platform to publish storage tests for the respective products free of charge. Source code and documentation are also welcome to contribute – just contact us.

Links zum Projekt

  • Website. The website just shown here with a brief introduction to the project in German.
  • Dynalist. All documentation for the current project: detailed concept, features, data structures, project plan, ideas for the future, etc..
  • Git repositories. All source code is published under this account, parts of it will later be integrated in the official Open Food Facts Android app.
  • #expirydates Slack channel. We mainly communicate here during the project. To join, first invite yourself to the Open Food Facts slack.
  • Android App to try. Early “alpha quality” release 0.1 from 2020-07-03. The app is not yet on Google Play, so you’ll have to know how to install it from this APK file. Try tapping the link on your Android device. The app requires Android 5.0 and a CPU that can run armeabi-v7a code (basically all phones and tablets can). Hints for testers:
    • For now you can simply scan or enter barcodes of food items and read associated food rescue content from the app’s offline database. It’s a fully offline app that does not send data anywhere.
    • Content for scanned barcodes is still scarce, but you can enter these barcodes manually to see how content looks: 1000110007387 and 2165741004149 and 2205873003013.
    • Sorry for the large APK size (36 MB). It will be optimized to 50% or less in a first real release.

Made possible by …

Team members:

(This is an open source project – if you want to contribute, you are welcome to do it. You don’t have to be able to program. It also needs tests, documentation, data research, etc.)



  • Prototype Fund: the specific funding program that makes the food rescue app possible
  • Open Food Facts: The open source project that we work with and that serves as a code base. OFF is involved in a number of projects and ideas for open data on food.
  • Open Knowledge Foundation Germany: organizes the Prototype Fund and oversees the projects
  • DLR project management agency: helps us a lot with the administrative handling of public funding (see)
  • Fairdirect e.V.: supports the project free of charge as an ideal sponsor with ideas, public relations and this web space