Would you give your baby a meals product for those who knew their allergen was processed on the identical manufacturing line? If not, learn this evaluation and keep away from the Fig app.
Following an advisory we issued for the Sifter app at the moment being promoted by FARE, we obtained a lot of requests to carry out an identical evaluation of Fig, an app that makes the next promise on its web site:
Fig is an app that exhibits you every little thing you may eat.
Whether or not you’re gluten-free, have meals intolerances, or just need to reduce out sure elements, we’ve acquired you lined.
No extra restrictions. Solely choices
We loaded the Fig app from the Google Play retailer, the place it’s provided with a 7-day free trial, after which you’re charged $50 per 12 months.
Given the app permits you to scan a product’s UPC code to see if it suits your allergen restrictions, we suspect it depends on the identical generic product databases as Sifter and former apps that labored equally however at the moment are defunct, e.g. ContentChecked and WazInIt.
These databases are nothing greater than repositories of knowledge that seem on the labels, together with ingredient lists and precautionary allergen label (PAL) warnings like “might comprise traces of milk” and “made on gear the place peanuts are processed.”
This graphic sums up the difficulty with US allergen labeling rules effectively:
Given the voluntary nature of PAL warnings, apps that depend on them to offer allergic shoppers with procuring options don’t have dependable perception into how merchandise are manufactured and are susceptible to offering mistaken/deceptive data relating to the potential for cross-contact. Our take a look at exhibits that is the case for the Fig app.
After a fast search of SnackSafely’s database, we chosen three merchandise we knew have been manufactured on shared strains with high allergens based mostly on data offered on to us by members of our Producer Partnership.
These producers present us with detailed allergen processing data not required on the label in trade for listings in our publications, together with our household of Protected Snack Guides and our Allergence product screening service. We then in contrast them with options offered by Fig utilizing a profile that specifies allergic reactions to the Prime 9 allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish, crustacean shellfish, and sesame.
Right here observe the outcomes. Word that we condensed every itemizing to indicate the related knowledge and included purple highlighting to name consideration to misinformation.
Instance 1: Nature’s Earthly Alternative Cauliflower Rice
On this instance, the Fig app lists the product as having no allergen issues relating to the potential for cross-contact with any of the Prime 9 allergens:
But the producer stories to us that wheat and soy are processed in the identical line with no particular testing for these allergens:
Instance 2: Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps
On this instance, the Fig app accurately exhibits that milk is an ingredient however signifies no issues relating to the potential for cross-contact with any of the opposite Prime 9 allergens:
But the producer stories to us that eggs, wheat, soy, and sesame are processed in the identical line and that tree nuts, fish and crustacean shellfish are processed in the identical facility with no particular testing for these allergens:
We all know the product doesn’t embrace potential cross-contact warnings, so Fig’s instruction to examine the label will present no further data. On this case, in addition they add a disclaimer to examine with the producer, however what use is that this app if it supplies the mistaken data and instructs you to examine with the producer?
Instance 3: Late July Natural Multigrain Sea Salt Tortilla Chips
On this instance, the Fig app exhibits no issues relating to the potential for cross-contact with any of the opposite Prime 9 allergens:
But the producer stories to us that tree nuts, milk, soy, and sesame are processed in the identical manufacturing line:
Whereas we all know the producer exams for gluten hint with a purpose to obtain a gluten-free certification for the product, they’ve knowledgeable us they don’t take a look at for coconut, milk, or sesame hint.
Moreover, the Fig app instructs us to double-check the label to verify the data is appropriate, however this shared line data isn’t included on the label.
It took only a few minutes to seek out three merchandise for which the Fig app supplies incorrect shared line/facility data, main us to presume there are a whole bunch — if not hundreds — of different merchandise Fig misrepresents.
As such, we firmly imagine the Fig app presents a hazard to the allergic neighborhood by misinforming customers when their allergens of concern are processed in the identical line or facility as merchandise they’re contemplating, main them to make purchases they might in any other case keep away from had they recognized higher.
We imagine that any app focused at shoppers with allergen restrictions and intolerances and purports to “Present you every little thing you may eat” ought to do extra to find out whether or not a product is acceptable for your loved ones.