Confusion at Safeway bakery


I was reading labels in the Safeway bakery, and one of the employees came out from behind the counter and asked me if she could help me.

I told her I had noticed that some of her cakes (and other products) had peanut warnings and others did not. Did that mean that the ones without the warning were baked somewhere that was peanut-free?

She said no, everything was baked in a kitchen that bakes peanut butter cookies, so technically, everything could have the warning.

"However," she continued, "we don't have to be so exact with our labelling anymore. But if I were you, since it's a severe allergy, I would stay away from everything."

Okay. DUH! But back up the truck here ... you don't have to be so exact with your labelling anymore?? Did I just time warp out of my body or somthing??? I thought I was on another planet.

Two questions here for you: (1) Does anybody have any idea how/who/where to complain about this person and/or this policy?? and (2) What is your experience with Safeway bakeries?

To answer #2 myself, my son eats their bread without problem. I think he's had their muffins in the past, too, and their cakes and cupcakes, too. (None of these things showed warnings, just in case you are wondering.)

When I am in some place like that and I see SOME product with warnings, and others without, I just assume that the product without is perfectly safe, whereas the product with warning must be avoided.

Am I stupid/naive/unsafe to be doing that??

On Sep 7, 2001

Wow, they don't *have* to so careful with their labelling anymore? Since when? That is outrageous - they should have a warning on everything, if everything is at risk. I wonder what their criteria is for actual risk?

I shop at 2 large grocery chains - A&P and IGA. I *never* buy baked goods at A&P because they have a blanket allergy statement saying everything could be cross-contaminated. However, IGA (my local 2 anyway) label only the foods that risk cross-contamination - they are known for their peanut-free birthday cakes and that sort of thing. So at IGA, if it's not labelled, it's safe.

Here is an interesting web site for you to visit. It details a recall Safeway Canada put out last July regarding undeclared walnuts in its carrot cake/muffins. On the page, you'll find head honcho contact info for Safeway, and for the Food Inspection Agency which deals with labelling issues.


Good luck. I shake my head at the blithe unawareness out there that could cost someone his or her life.

On Sep 9, 2001

Brian is very sensitive to the peanut protein. It has been our experience that our Safeway bakery makes "safe" cupcakes and donuts. We haven't done their cakes, so don't know what to say about those. The Fred Meyers, on the other hand, said not to trust ANY of their baked goods. I don't think this helps any, but it is our experience. That said, I bake as much of our "sweet stuff" as I can. That way I KNOW what is in it. Breads though, I often just buy what is available. No problems yet. Good luck! Kristi

On Sep 10, 2001

This is VERY timely for me! I was planning to call Safeway today to ask them about their bakery manufacturing procedures. My daughter has always safely eaten plain birthday cakes and cupcakes from Safeway, without a problem. Well, Saturday she was at a birthday party at a very aware friend's house. My husband dropped her off and checked to make sure that all the candy was safe. This mom is so sweet, she had already tried to make sure everything was safe for Leah. Anyway, the mom and my husband both knew that we considered the plain Safeway birthday cake to be safe, so they were both comfortable with it. Anyway, the story I got when I went to pick Leah up, was that she had been eating a piece of the cake and had taken a few bites when the mom decided to read the label on the box. (Yes, this should have been done earlier but it was one of those cases where my husband had just felt so comfortable with the product that he didn't do it. A human error.) Anyhow, she saw that it had the "made in the same factory that processes peanuts and nuts"; or some such typical warning. Apparently she leaped across the room and grabbed the cake from Leah. Leah cried and cried and said she wanted to go home. The mom apologized and said she handled it poorly. I told the mom she handled it great - and I was sorry that she had been put in that position. Anyhow, I am going to call Safeway today and find out what is up. My daughter was totally fine, by the way.

My latest real gripe with companies now is that many of them seem to just be slapping on warning labels to cover themselves, instead of making sure their manufacturing procedures are safe. I have this same issue with Trader Joe's. We love their roasted soy bean butter; it is a true staple in our home and does not carry any warnings. The other day we noticed that they had chocolate covered roasted soy beans. We were excited until we read the "may contain" label!!! I will start a new thread on the "take action" forum about this once I have taken some action myself! Miriam

On Sep 10, 2001

For the most part I just don't trust big chain bakeries. It just seems too risky and there seem to be to many underlings who really don't know the full scoop. I buy from a bakery where most times when I go in I can talk with the baker himself. This applies to ice cream cakes too--I know the owners and they always go through the process of making the ice cream cake and how they ensure it is safe. So far this has worked for me. Way to go to the parent who leapt and grabbed the food from your daughter. I am sorry that it upset your daughter--but with so many complacent people-it seems like her at least taking action was wonderful. The other thing is that I find with each passing year--and no reactions--I sometimes get a bit complacent with my vigilance for my 11 year old PA son. However, I have made it a firm practice with parties to go through every item being served so that a mistake doesn't happen. Fortunately my son is old enough to understand when he can't have certain foods. I guess my point is it gets easier as they get older!

On Sep 12, 2001

Before I say anything I would just like to say, DON'T TAKE THIS AS DEFINITE!!!

Last year I had to study Food Tech, which included labelling laws.

Ingredients MUST be stated.

Nut warnings are NOT a requirement, however if they are "ingredients", they MUST be on the list.

I don't know if these apply in the US

On Oct 9, 2001

hi there -

I've been with this allergy 27 years...I never *ever* get anything from *any* bakery anywhere, UNLESS, it has a sign that says "PEANUT/NUT FREE ENVIRONMENT"...which to this day I have not found! I even have reservations about Dunkin Donuts too sometimes...