Nut Free

Business By Kitagrl Updated 19 Jul 2011 , 9:21am by jhndavid

Kitagrl Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 9:27pm
post #1 of 17

I'm curious....if bakeries offer "nut free" cakes, what things do they have to do to be able to claim that? Anything special?

My regular venue for whom I provide most of their wedding cakes requested a nut free cake for a severely allergic groom. I told her I could not, and nor could my backup (friend) caker who does any overflow cakes that I cannot fit in. I hope she's not aggravated but I tried to explain that I do not have separate spaces to put all my ingredients away from nuts or nut extract...plus, I would end up delivering the cake along with a cake that was NOT nut free...anything could happen. I am not able to honestly say my baking is "nut free". I take it really seriously. I suggested she give the bride a credit to go find her own allergenic cake shop, but hopefully that will not make anyone angry.

So I'm wondering what cake shops do who provide nut free items? So I don't feel so bad for saying "NO" and putting her in a bind to find a caker.....

16 replies
jason_kraft Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 9:40pm
post #2 of 17

We don't use nuts or peanuts in any of our products, but IMO for a bakery to claim that a specific product is nut-free they can still use nuts in other products, but they have to protect the nut-free product against cross-contamination from ingredients, surfaces, and other products containing nuts. For example, we make a lot of gluten-free cakes, but we also have products that contain gluten, so we have our baking process set up to ensure gluten-free cakes are not contaminated with gluten.

Here is a list of nut-free businesses:
http://www.nutfreebusinesses.com/browseallbusinesses.html

Google provides some additional options:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=nut-free+bakery+philadelphia

There's also Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philly, but they remove all allergens from their products (gluten, eggs. dairy, soy, corn, and nuts) so I wouldn't recommend them if the only allergy is nuts.

Imagicakes looks promising since they say they "can provide" nut-free products but I would encourage the customer to call first and make sure they are comfortable with how they avoid cross-contamination.

FYI delivering a nut-free cake with a cake containing nuts in the same car shouldn't be a problem as long as they are both boxed and separated, and you set up the nut-free cake at the venue first.

Kitagrl Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 9:49pm
post #3 of 17

So you would say that most bakeries are probably not set up to properly provide nut-free products? Meaning...it should not be expected that I should be able to provide that?

jason_kraft Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 10:06pm
post #4 of 17

I wouldn't expect a traditional bakery to be set up to safely handle an allergen-free request...personally I've never eaten anything that was made at another bakery because of the threat of cross-contamination of nuts, but others with less severe nut allergies might be willing to take the risk.

There's nothing wrong with saying you're not set up to accommodate food allergy requests and the product may contain nuts, you can then give the customer the option of going ahead with the order or not. The only thing I take issue with is businesses that don't give the customer the option of purchasing a cake that may contain nuts if they have a nut allergy.

Kitagrl Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 10:15pm
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

I wouldn't expect a traditional bakery to be set up to safely handle an allergen-free request...personally I've never eaten anything that was made at another bakery because of the threat of cross-contamination of nuts, but others with less severe nut allergies might be willing to take the risk.

There's nothing wrong with saying you're not set up to accommodate food allergy requests and the product may contain nuts, you can then give the customer the option of going ahead with the order or not. The only thing I take issue with is businesses that don't give the customer the option of purchasing a cake that may contain nuts if they have a nut allergy.




If I have a person who wants a regular cake even though they say they have a nut allergy, I just have them sign a disclaimer saying they know and understand the cake may have nuts and they are taking responsibility for that.

cheatize Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 11:38pm
post #6 of 17

Once the words, "severe nut allergies" are uttered, the gate closes. No way, no how. This is not a slightly allergic situation, this is severe. Frankly, I can't believe the bride is going to have a non-allergen cake there, either.

jason_kraft Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 11:50pm
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

Once the words, "severe nut allergies" are uttered, the gate closes. No way, no how.



This is an example of what I was referring to earlier.

Quote:
Quote:

Frankly, I can't believe the bride is going to have a non-allergen cake there, either.



Many of our wedding cake customers with food allergies are buying a secondary cake to accompany a more traditional cake that they won't be able to eat.

At my own wedding we didn't have a cake, it was small plates so we had 4 desserts. Two desserts contained nuts and two didn't, and I was perfectly fine with that since the manager of the restaurants walked me through their food prep process and how they avoid cross-contamination.

Kitagrl Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 11:51pm
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

Once the words, "severe nut allergies" are uttered, the gate closes. No way, no how.


This is an example of what I was referring to earlier.

Quote:
Quote:

Frankly, I can't believe the bride is going to have a non-allergen cake there, either.


Many of our wedding cake customers with food allergies are buying a secondary cake to accompany a more traditional cake that they won't be able to eat.

At my own wedding we didn't have a cake, it was small plates so we had 4 desserts. Two desserts contained nuts and two didn't, and I was perfectly fine with that since the manager of the restaurants walked me through their food prep process and how they avoid cross-contamination.




That's a good idea...but how do they do the cake cutting? Some brides would not want to give up the idea of cutting into the actual wedding cake together....

jason_kraft Posted 18 Jul 2011 , 11:55pm
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

That's a good idea...but how do they do the cake cutting? Some brides would not want to give up the idea of cutting into the actual wedding cake together....



They cut into the allergy-friendly cake -- it still looks like a wedding cake, only smaller.

johnson6ofus Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 12:32am
post #10 of 17

Allergies are not something to take lightly. As an allergy plagued family, I can see that MANY food manufacturers now label food as "prepared in a facility that also handles nuts, wheat, milk... blah, blah, blah". Even products specifically marketed, to some extend as allergy free.

When I bandage a kid's boo-boo, I use basic sterile / safe precautions but it is by no means an operating room or totally sterile. Allergies the same... I am careful to not cross contaminate, but I don't guarantee one particle of something doesn't get in. Luckily, no one in my family will go into shock with a small "allergen" but others deal with a much greater threat.

I really don't know how anyone can deal with the real "killer" allergy level, or a baker that can accept the risk.

Kitagrl Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 12:47am
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

Allergies are not something to take lightly. As an allergy plagued family, I can see that MANY food manufacturers now label food as "prepared in a facility that also handles nuts, wheat, milk... blah, blah, blah". Even products specifically marketed, to some extend as allergy free.

When I bandage a kid's boo-boo, I use basic sterile / safe precautions but it is by no means an operating room or totally sterile. Allergies the same... I am careful to not cross contaminate, but I don't guarantee one particle of something doesn't get in. Luckily, no one in my family will go into shock with a small "allergen" but others deal with a much greater threat.

I really don't know how anyone can deal with the real "killer" allergy level, or a baker that can accept the risk.




Right...I mean, technically speaking...a chef could have just finished doing something with nuts...and then would go pick up the cake without washing his hands, and accidentally nudge the cake....and contaminate the piece the groom would eat....I know its a long shot, but anything can happen...kinda like the kid who kissed his girlfriend and killed her because he had just eaten a Reese's....

johnson6ofus Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 1:26am
post #12 of 17

My mom goes into shock with... onion. Strange huh? Last meal she ate made by a food place was a hamburger where a piece of onion made in into the lettuce... and she was in the ER within 30 minutes, and almost died.

She only eats food she prepares, and boxes and seals herself. Risk is just not worth it. At some point, all severe allergies needs to be treated that way. Putting the burden on a baker, literally for life or death, is just too much pressure/ risk/ liability.

Kitagrl Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 1:31am
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

My mom goes into shock with... onion. Strange huh? Last meal she ate made by a food place was a hamburger where a piece of onion made in into the lettuce... and she was in the ER within 30 minutes, and almost died.

She only eats food she prepares, and boxes and seals herself. Risk is just not worth it. At some point, all severe allergies needs to be treated that way. Putting the burden on a baker, literally for life or death, is just too much pressure/ risk/ liability.




WOW!!!!

I do have to agree with this....if the risk is that great, there is no reason to put that on somebody else...ultimately, your life is literally in your own hands. Its horrible to have to deal with, but it would be even worse to allow someone else to make a deathly mistake.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 1:50am
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Right...I mean, technically speaking...a chef could have just finished doing something with nuts...and then would go pick up the cake without washing his hands, and accidentally nudge the cake....and contaminate the piece the groom would eat....



That's exactly why we specifically disclaim liability for food allergies, even when the cake is made without the allergen. We just can't control what happens once the cake is delivered to the venue.

The biggest risk is probably someone getting a reaction from catered food and blaming it on the cake. For example, did you know pesto usually contains pine nuts? I found this out during a job interview in senior year of college after eating a chicken sandwich with pesto, and I conducted my afternoon interviews with a swelled-up tongue -- luckily benadryl did the trick and I didn't need my epi-pen. But hey, I got the job. icon_wink.gif

Re the burden mentioned in other posts: We've catered almost exclusively to customers with severe allergies over the past few years and we've never had a customer complain to us about an allergic reaction. It sounds like a huge burden but it really isn't, considering liability for food allergies is disclaimed in the contract, plus we have liability insurance, plus the business is an LLC that protects our personal assets.

Given the number of people with food allergies out there, everyone who sells cakes to the public is exposed to this liability anyway -- if you sell one cake per week with an average serving size of 100, you can expect that 200 people with food allergies per year could potentially be served your cake.

Kitagrl Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 2:08am
post #15 of 17

Yes but if the client does not know about the allergy, then there is no liability with the baker....the baker cannot be sued for something he or she was unaware of. Well, she *could*...people sue for everything these days...but I highly doubt she would lose.

(Yes I'm insured btw)

It just opens you up to a HUGE lawsuit, though, doing a cake for a KNOWN deathly allergy.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 2:44am
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Yes but if the client does not know about the allergy, then there is no liability with the baker....
It just opens you up to a HUGE lawsuit, though, doing a cake for a KNOWN deathly allergy.



If the contract specifically disclaims food allergy-related liability, it doesn't matter if the allergy is known to the baker or not.

jhndavid Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 9:21am
post #17 of 17

Hey try to prepare the nut free if it cant u can do like tis itself it like an business ethics so its nt a wrnga

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