I have a customer that has requested a cake and informed me that she needed to make sure that I would not use any nuts in the recipe because a guest at the party has a nut allergy. I informed her that I do not have a nut free kitchen but that the recipe and icings I will be using do not have any nuts in them. I gave her an ingredient list and she forwarded it to the guest with the nut allergy. She wrote me an email back stating that the guest said that my cake would be fine. Is that enough clarification and back up documentation that I addressed this issue and stated I do not have a nut free kitchen? What have some of you done?
What kind of reaction does the guest have to nuts? Itching vs throat-closing...
I personally wont do it.
Nut allergies are potentially very dangerous. State in writing that you do not have a nut free kitchen and the cake could come in contact with nuts. All it takes is a trace to cause a reaction. I do have a nut free kitchen ( my daughter has allergies) but would be very hesitant to ensure someone with allergies that my food is for sure safe for them. It is such a liability, especially if you aren't nut free. However, if that allergic person chooses to eat it and you have stated clearly on a label that it was processed around nuts you have covered yourself.
In addition to doing the above, I would also make sure that any products that you use such as flour, sugar, cake mixes, etc were processed on nut free equipment. If something comes from a company which previously processd nuts, I would inform the customer and have that in writing also.
Are you doing a contract? If you usually don't, I would definitely do one with this cake.
I don't do contracts and I don't do allergan free cakes.
I will not hunt down & purchase special ingredients for one customer and I won't ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever promise that something is "nut free".
I've told any customer that asks for something that is nut free that ALL of my ingredients and equipment have the potential for cross contamination from nuts, nut dust, and nut oils.
If the primary client or the recipient of the cake is the one with allergy, I decline the cake order--and I don't back down, no matter what they tell me. I don't believe for one second that the person celebrating the event ISN'T going to even "try" the cake.............
If the allergic individual is a guest of the client, I tell the client all of what I've said above and then I tell the client that once they accept delivery of the cake, they are then LIABLE and fully responsible for making sure that the allergic individual DOES NOT CONSUME OR TOUCH ANY OF THE CAKE. The client is advised that they MUST inform the guest that the cake is absolutely NOT nut free.
I suggest that they do this at a time when other guests are around as witnesses--not in a way to single out the allergic individual, but as a general notice that the cake is "not nut free."
I have the client sign a statement to this effect and I give them a copy. I want it abundantly clear that the client is assuming all responsibility for what their guest does when that guest is confronted with a cake that is potentially harmful to them.
So far, so good---knock wood.
As long as you have liability insurance and wording in your contract indicating that you cannot guarantee that the product will not contain trace amounts of nuts, you should be fine.
Everyone with food allergies has a different comfort level, so let the customer make the decision on whether or not they are comfortable eating the cake based on your disclaimers. Chances are your cakes have already been exposed to someone with food allergies anyway, since about 1% of the population has them.
I wouldn't do it either, too much of a risk. My daughter has a child in her class this year with a nut allergy, Ill be sending in NOTHING homemade.
MD requires that all products bear a small label stating:
Bakery uses nuts, dairy, wheat, soy, and eggs.
I just printed it at Vistaprint on little address labels with cupcakes on it. They were cheap.
Even if your HD doesn't require it, it's a good measure.