Costco bakery cakes

Posted on: Sun, 08/20/2000 - 10:30am
BENSMOM's picture
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Joined: 05/20/2000 - 09:00

This question came up on the Carvel topic, but I thought I'd post it separately. Costco cakes are not free from cross-contamination. I don't know if they have peanut products in the bakery, but they do have carrot cake which has walnuts. Despite this, I did let my son eat Costco cake on Saturday with no problem. He has reacted to walnut before, but was fine. I'm sure most of you wouldn't risk it. Here's the email question I sent and the response I got.

My question concerns the bakery. My son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.) I would like to know if
any precautions are taken in the bakery to separate items made with nuts
from items made without nuts. For example, are the plain cakes mixed in
a different mixer than the carrot cakes (which I presume have walnuts)?
If not, are the machines cleaned well (with the intent of removing
allergen residue) in between? I would appreciate any information you
can give me regarding this.

RESPONSE:
Thank you for your recent e-mail to costco.com.
At Costco they do rinse out the mixing bowls in between cake mixes but
there is not a "conscious effort" to separate any items that have nuts
versus ones that do not. The carrot cake is not made in a separate
bowl. It is only washed in between mixes.Sincerely,Kathie

Posted on: Mon, 08/21/2000 - 1:26pm
KarenT's picture
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Joined: 10/30/1999 - 09:00

I asked the same question of our bakery at Cosco. We had been buying the muffins and the cinnamon buns when I realized while watching them making muffins one day, there did not seem to be alot of thought going into cross contamination. The week after I asked question, every item that is baked in their bakery had a "may contain" label. I am glad my daughter could not eat these foods we had been bringing home (she can not have milk or eggs). We miss the baking but I dont take the risk anymore.
------------------
Karalot

Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2006 - 9:35pm
Lindajo's picture
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Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

I ordered a Costco cake for my DS graduation last year. I wrote on the slip "Severe Peanut Allergy" do not let cake come in contact with other peanuts or nuts. Normally, I would not let me DD eat the cake because I have noticed the warning on previous cakes. But this one did not have the warning on it. The others around it did, but not ours. Now, I'm not saying you should go out and eat the Costco cake, but if you state this on the slip and maybe talk to the bakers, maybe you could.
I also noticed that the later you put the slip in, the fresher your cake is. I put my slip in at closing time on a Friday night to pick up the cake on a Sunday morning. I noticed that there were cakes in the cases, already made when they weren't going to be picked up for several days.

Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2006 - 10:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

CorinneM1, do they bake the cakes on the premises or are they brought in?
If they bake them on the premises, here's what I have done for years now (it seems) despite allergy warnings in the bakery itself.
First of all, the bakeries where I buy the cakes are all "peanut free". Not "tree nut free" but "peanut free".
Then, I remember one member, FedUp! years ago telling me (us) how to really check out cakes made on grocery store premises. You ask to see the icing mix bag and the cake mix bag. See if it is labeled "may contain". I've done that and found that (oh, and sorry, I'm in Canada) the icing and cake mix were labeled well (in different grocery store franchises) and they were all PA safe.
Also, despite doing that, I will also do as Lindajo did and say that the cake has to be "peanut free" - not to come into contact with any other peanut products. Since all of the bakeries I've bought from have only had tree nuts in them, I didn't worry about the potential for cross contamination from cross contamination yadda yadda.
I did have an experience one year when we ordered from Tim Horton's (big allergy alert sign on their doors) where we had to sign a liability waiver to get the cake. The Tim Horton's itself didn't sell any peanut products, but all of the other cakes except for the one I ordered were "may contain" in some way (either cake or icing) and they just wanted to be careful.
I've just noticed to with my local grocery store that the allergy warning is slapped on ALL of their cakes now - cakes that I bought last year for my children's birthdays (well, not the same identical cake [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ) and so I'll have to double check this year, but I'm pretty sure they'll be fine.
The other thing I noticed this week in my grocery was now they have an allergy alert on the weigh scales at the deli. There are no peanuts in the deli - no deli meats with tree nuts. It does share with the bakery and there are tree nuts used in there, but no peanuts, and it was like, what? Just another CYA warning.
However, I've found people really great when I have asked (the bakery staff) if they do make them on-site and even though I look at the mix and icing, I still make sure to say it has to be "peanut free" (always hear the words no guarantee, which is okay) and we've always been okay.
Again, not saying you *should* do this, but I buy my children's birthday cakes every year.
I know there are old threads here about birthday cakes if you do a search and although, yes, most people do make their own, there have been some good suggestions about how to buy them safely in a grocery store.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 05/26/2006 - 12:38am
MommaBear's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by csc:
[b]Then, I remember one member, FedUp! years ago telling me (us) how to really check out cakes made on grocery store premises. You ask to see the icing mix bag and the cake mix bag. See if it is labeled "may contain". I've done that and found that (oh, and sorry, I'm in Canada) the icing and cake mix were labeled well (in different grocery store franchises) and they were all PA safe.
[/b]
you know, I did that too with some cinnamon buns at our local grocery store bakery. Everything *looked* ok, and we were eating them for a while (no advice), but I noticed a while later a bakery employee (at the grocery store) icing the buns out of the big vat of icing. I was assured that the *only* item made with that icing was the cinnamon buns.
(icing spatula in and out constantly---probably would have been better to take hunks of icing out with a clean spatula each time to use instead of going back and forth)
one day, I read the label and instead of the standard lemon icing (as stated in the product guide for the bakery to partially assemble their goods) there was [i]vanilla[/i]. (and labelled as such---their computer spits out labels for all their products to be placed on the finally assembled goods---sorta pre-fab bakery items, ya know?)
Well, vanilla. Apparently they were out of lemon icing and had used the vanilla. Turns out the vanilla was "safe" as well. But made me think that although the products were labelled appropriately with the switch, was there ever a time they used the [i]lemon icing[/i] *or* the vanilla icing to frost something else [i]in a pinch[/i]? Even tho the lemon icing was *supposed* to be used specifically for the cinnamon buns. I mean, seeing they took the spatula back and forth from product to vat of icing. KWIM? (I still personally would have pulled a large quantity to a separate bowl from this 5 gallon bucket to frost the items instead of returning the spatula to the whole lot of it. Again, KWIM? I mean, just for bacterial contamination and shelf life concerns.)
~no advice, just relating a personal experience.

Posted on: Fri, 05/26/2006 - 2:36am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Keep in mind that my experience is easily, oh, 25 yrs old... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
I worked at several commercial bakeries putting myself through college. I will NEVER EVER EVER feed my daughter anything made by one.
Not even bread.
If anything else exists in the facility which poses a cross-contamination risk, it [i]will happen.[/i]
It is inevitable, given the shared workspaces, multi-use equipment and personnel doing the work. This is totally separate from the issue of rework.
In other words, I think (truthfully) if you use a bakery which does items containing allergens, you're playing roulette. Regardless of what labels or the employees tell you.

Posted on: Fri, 05/26/2006 - 4:01am
cynde's picture
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Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

I have to agree with Corvallis mom, DS almost died from eating a cake from a bakery. The label did not mention anything about PN (or TN). When I got a list of all ingredients used in the bakery (it was an 11 page inventory list), the whole last page was nothing but PN and TN products - oils, pastes, bits, pieces.....
Never again will he eat anything from any bakery. It's just not worth it. I either make stuff from scratch or use betty crocker. It is a real pain in the a$$ sometimes, but nowhere near as inconvenient as a near death experience.

Posted on: Fri, 05/26/2006 - 8:35am
CorinneM1's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Cynde--I think that this the route that we are on now. I enjoy baking with my son, and we do often. Large sheet sized birthday cakes were the only exception, and bc the manager words in the past made me feel comfortable. Other bakeries that we have asked if they were peanut free, recommended that we do not eat there, although no peanuts they did have nuts everywhere.
So, it looks like from here on out for birthdays it will be Betty Crocker cupcakes and frosting for the kids. :O)

Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2006 - 9:35pm
Lindajo's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

I ordered a Costco cake for my DS graduation last year. I wrote on the slip "Severe Peanut Allergy" do not let cake come in contact with other peanuts or nuts. Normally, I would not let me DD eat the cake because I have noticed the warning on previous cakes. But this one did not have the warning on it. The others around it did, but not ours. Now, I'm not saying you should go out and eat the Costco cake, but if you state this on the slip and maybe talk to the bakers, maybe you could.
I also noticed that the later you put the slip in, the fresher your cake is. I put my slip in at closing time on a Friday night to pick up the cake on a Sunday morning. I noticed that there were cakes in the cases, already made when they weren't going to be picked up for several days.

Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2006 - 10:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

CorinneM1, do they bake the cakes on the premises or are they brought in?
If they bake them on the premises, here's what I have done for years now (it seems) despite allergy warnings in the bakery itself.
First of all, the bakeries where I buy the cakes are all "peanut free". Not "tree nut free" but "peanut free".
Then, I remember one member, FedUp! years ago telling me (us) how to really check out cakes made on grocery store premises. You ask to see the icing mix bag and the cake mix bag. See if it is labeled "may contain". I've done that and found that (oh, and sorry, I'm in Canada) the icing and cake mix were labeled well (in different grocery store franchises) and they were all PA safe.
Also, despite doing that, I will also do as Lindajo did and say that the cake has to be "peanut free" - not to come into contact with any other peanut products. Since all of the bakeries I've bought from have only had tree nuts in them, I didn't worry about the potential for cross contamination from cross contamination yadda yadda.
I did have an experience one year when we ordered from Tim Horton's (big allergy alert sign on their doors) where we had to sign a liability waiver to get the cake. The Tim Horton's itself didn't sell any peanut products, but all of the other cakes except for the one I ordered were "may contain" in some way (either cake or icing) and they just wanted to be careful.
I've just noticed to with my local grocery store that the allergy warning is slapped on ALL of their cakes now - cakes that I bought last year for my children's birthdays (well, not the same identical cake [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ) and so I'll have to double check this year, but I'm pretty sure they'll be fine.
The other thing I noticed this week in my grocery was now they have an allergy alert on the weigh scales at the deli. There are no peanuts in the deli - no deli meats with tree nuts. It does share with the bakery and there are tree nuts used in there, but no peanuts, and it was like, what? Just another CYA warning.
However, I've found people really great when I have asked (the bakery staff) if they do make them on-site and even though I look at the mix and icing, I still make sure to say it has to be "peanut free" (always hear the words no guarantee, which is okay) and we've always been okay.
Again, not saying you *should* do this, but I buy my children's birthday cakes every year.
I know there are old threads here about birthday cakes if you do a search and although, yes, most people do make their own, there have been some good suggestions about how to buy them safely in a grocery store.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 05/26/2006 - 12:38am
MommaBear's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by csc:
[b]Then, I remember one member, FedUp! years ago telling me (us) how to really check out cakes made on grocery store premises. You ask to see the icing mix bag and the cake mix bag. See if it is labeled "may contain". I've done that and found that (oh, and sorry, I'm in Canada) the icing and cake mix were labeled well (in different grocery store franchises) and they were all PA safe.
[/b]
you know, I did that too with some cinnamon buns at our local grocery store bakery. Everything *looked* ok, and we were eating them for a while (no advice), but I noticed a while later a bakery employee (at the grocery store) icing the buns out of the big vat of icing. I was assured that the *only* item made with that icing was the cinnamon buns.
(icing spatula in and out constantly---probably would have been better to take hunks of icing out with a clean spatula each time to use instead of going back and forth)
one day, I read the label and instead of the standard lemon icing (as stated in the product guide for the bakery to partially assemble their goods) there was [i]vanilla[/i]. (and labelled as such---their computer spits out labels for all their products to be placed on the finally assembled goods---sorta pre-fab bakery items, ya know?)
Well, vanilla. Apparently they were out of lemon icing and had used the vanilla. Turns out the vanilla was "safe" as well. But made me think that although the products were labelled appropriately with the switch, was there ever a time they used the [i]lemon icing[/i] *or* the vanilla icing to frost something else [i]in a pinch[/i]? Even tho the lemon icing was *supposed* to be used specifically for the cinnamon buns. I mean, seeing they took the spatula back and forth from product to vat of icing. KWIM? (I still personally would have pulled a large quantity to a separate bowl from this 5 gallon bucket to frost the items instead of returning the spatula to the whole lot of it. Again, KWIM? I mean, just for bacterial contamination and shelf life concerns.)
~no advice, just relating a personal experience.

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