Spokin’s Omission of Crucial Allergen Processing Information Puts Allergic Individuals at Risk

Spokin Advisory

Users are cautioned not to rely on the app and instead call the respective product manufacturers to confirm allergen processing information for themselves

Following an analysis of their product guides including their current Halloween guide, SnackSafely.com has determined that Spokin’s food allergy app omits crucial shared line and facility information for the “Top 8 allergens”, information generally available from responsible manufacturers. As their product recommendations are specifically targeted at the allergic community, we find these omissions egregious and potentially hazardous to those that rely on the app.

The results of our investigation indicate that Spokin does not contact the manufacturers of products they recommend in their guides, the only reliable means of determining which allergens are processed in the lines and facilities where the food products are made. The result is that Spokin fails to warn users that eggs, milk, and soy are processed in the same lines and facilities as their product recommendations and likely omits processing information for other allergens.

Despite a confusing mix of information gleaned from labels and websites, Spokin’s “allergy-friendly” guides provide only a portion of the information necessary to determine the suitability of a food product for an allergic individual and omit important shared line and facility information. This is especially dangerous as the information Spokin does provide might easily be misconstrued as authoritative and complete, leading users to purchase and consume products they would otherwise avoid.

Contacting the manufacturer in order to determine the potential for cross-contact with allergens processed in the facility is the first step food allergy families take to determine whether a product is safe for consumption. Spokin’s users have a right to assume that an app that bills itself as “the best food allergy app ever” has performed this modicum of research BEFORE making their recommendations.

It is for this reason we warn Spokin users NOT TO RELY ON THE APP for shared line and facility information and instead call the respective product manufacturers to confirm the information for themselves.

Though our sample set was drawn from products for which we have detailed data, we believe Spokin’s omission of critical allergen processing information is indicative of the app’s other product recommendations across their 20+ guides.


In performing our analysis, we compared the information published by Spokin to data sourced to us by members of the SnackSafely.com Manufacturer Partnership, a program consisting of 120+ member companies that disclose shared line and facility information for 11 allergens to us in exchange for listings in our publications. We then searched for discrepancies between the two.

Below are four samples where Spokin failed to inform users of routine allergen processing concerns in their product recommendations.

Sample 1: Recommendation from Spokin’s Top 20 Allergy- Friendly Bars Guide fails to disclose eggs and milk processed in the same line

This product recommendation was made in Spokin’s recent Top 20 Allergy-Friendly Bars guide:

Spokin’s recommendation notes that the product contains gluten, wheat, and soy and indicates the peanuts and tree nuts are not processed in the facility, leading the user to assume that all allergen processing concerns are addressed.

Here is the allergen processing information provided to us by the manufacturer of Zee Zee’s Campfire S’mores bars:

Per the manufacturer, Campfire S’mores bars are manufactured on shared lines that also process eggs and milk, information omitted from Spokin’s recommendation.

Summary:

Despite providing a mix of allergen processing information gleaned from the label and website, Spokin failed to warn their users that eggs and milk are processed in the same line as this product is manufactured, information the company should have provided.

Sample 2: Product From Spokin’s 2019 Allergy-Friendly Halloween Guide fails to disclose milk and soy processed in the same facility

This product recommendation comes from Spokin’s current Allergy-Friendly Halloween Guide:

Spokin’s recommendation notes this product contains none of the Top 8 allergens and is free from the Top 8 allergens, though we cannot say what the difference between those two statements might be. That said, the user might misconstrue this to mean there are no allergen processing concerns.

Here is the allergen processing information provided to us by the manufacturer of Dots candies:

Per the manufacturer, Dots are manufactured in a facility that also processes milk and soy, information omitted from Spokin’s recommendation.

Summary:

Despite providing a mix of allergen processing information gleaned from the label and website, Spokin failed to warn their users that milk and soy are processed in the same facility as this product is manufactured, information the company should have provided.

Sample 3: Recommendation from Spokin’s 2019 Allergy-Friendly Halloween Guide fails to disclose soy processed in the same facility

This product recommendation also comes from Spokin’s 2019 Allergy-Friendly Halloween Guide:

Spokin’s recommendation notes that the product contains eggs and the facility is free from peanuts, tree nuts, milk, fish and shellfish. The user is left to assume that all Top 8 allergens are accounted for.

Here is the allergen processing information provided to us by the manufacturer of YumEarth Organic Candy Corn:

Per the manufacturer, this product is manufactured in a facility that also processes soy, information omitted from Spokin’s recommendation.

Summary:

Despite providing a mix of allergen processing information gleaned from the label and website, Spokin failed to warn their users that soy is processed in the same facility as this product is manufactured, information the company should have provided.

Sample 4: Recommendation From Spokin’s 2019 Allergy-Friendly Easter Guide fails to disclose milk and soy processed in the same facility

This product recommendation was listed in Spokin’s 2019 Allergy-Friendly Easter Guide:

Once again, Spokin’s recommendation notes this product contains none of the Top 8 allergens and is made in a dedicated facility free from peanuts, tree nuts and gluten but provides no other guidance, leading the user to assume there are no allergen processing concerns.

Here is the allergen processing information provided to us by the manufacturer of Fluffy Stuff:

Per the manufacturer, Fluffy Stuff is manufactured in a facility that also processes milk and soy, information omitted from Spokin’s recommendation.

Summary:

Despite providing a mix of allergen processing information gleaned from the label and website, Spokin failed to warn their users that milk and soy are processed in the same facility as this product is manufactured, information the company should have provided.

Sources:
Print or share this article
Spokin Webcast Appearance Sparks Concern About Data: Theirs and Yours
Click to visit sponsor