Starbucks - cross contam. warning

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(cross posting in Adults w/ PA)

hi all!

So I've done a bit of research into Starbucks Frappucinos b/c they now have a Toffee Nut Frapp and a Pumpkin Spice Frapp. It got me thinking about cross-contamination with the frappucinos.

I talked to a fabulous customer service rep:

- the hazelnut and almond syrups are nut based and have nut extract in them - she said that pumpkin spice and toffee nut do not (but I'm still wary of those) - Starbucks will make any frapp that a customer could order a frapp with a shot of hazelnut, thus contaminating the blender. - Blenders are sanitized every few hours and are only rinsed in between

So - the likelihood of cross-cont. is high. Options:

- if you are really hankering for a frapp. and are can ask them to sanitize the blender. It takes about 5 minutes. - let the baristas know you are allergic and they can best tell you what's been made in the blender already - when ordering ANY drink, make sure you let the barista know you are allergic to nuts and make sure they do not use a "common spoon" thing to stir the syrup in your drink (uncommon practice these days, now they just swish it around in your own cup) - be careful when getting shaken iced coffee - same deal...someone could have asked for a shot of hazelnut or almond!

So - she seemed really in tune with my concern and is forwarding a suggestion onto the nutritionist. I asked for signage, just something simple like "Tell your barista if you have a nut allergy" or "Warning, cross-contamination with nuts possible"

So - I won't stop going to Starbucks, but I will stop getting frappucinos, except for on my birthday when I feel justified asking for a sanitized blender :-)


------------------ 30-year old survivor of sever peanut/tree nut allergy

On Sep 21, 2005


Thanks for posting this. Something else I never really thought about, since I like my coffee plain!


On Sep 22, 2005

That's odd, they told ME last year that the nut-flavored syrups were artificially flavored.

I'm not allergic to hazelnut, so my typical order is a cinnamon hazelnut latte with whipped cream. I don't like coffee so much as a confection that is flavored with espresso. [img][/img] I also ask if they've made anything with soy recently. If so, I ask for them to clean the steam wand (fresh rag, extra back flush) and use a fresh carafe of milk. I explain that I'm allergic to soy and they're happy to accomodate. I tip them for the extra trouble, though baristas are fairly well paid (unless you're in an area with a really high cost of living).

For those with soy or dairy allergies, I HAVE reacted at a starbucks in the past from cross contamination. It was one using a newer machine and they didn't have a dedicated wand for soy milk. The newbie barista made a soy drink immediately before steaming the whole milk for my drink and apparently didn't clean the wand. Cleaning the wand IS procedure, it was just a really busy shift. I should have just ordered hot tea.

I try to go to just one starbucks when I'm in town. That way the baristas know me and allergy accomodation just becomes part of their training.

Some of the new syrups used for the iced teas contain soy. All the fraps contain soy.


On Sep 22, 2005

Thanks for posting this.

Going Nuts, do you like your coffee plain because you don't understand most of the extensive "menu" at a coffee bar? [img][/img] You should see me! I go in and I do stare for a minute and then I just ask for a medium coffee. It is still something that I am terribly dazed and confused about. I'm going to say that it's because I'm 6 years behind the times, but I don't know if that reason will fly. I mean, there were no coffee bars in Stayner. There was one, not close, in Belleville.

I have seen the syrup things and certainly thought that there was probably a concern there after what I had seen in the one coffee bar in Belleville (an allergy alert on one of their coffees).

But great to have it double checked, etc. and yes, have them clean it on your birthday so you can get something special!

Best wishes! [img][/img]

On Sep 24, 2005

I too, had called Starbuck's a couple times- the last time after they changed the syrup to a "Starbuck's" label (which I think they said was still the same-just w/their label). Anyway, they old me the same thing-all artificially flavored.

I know the coffees are artificially flavored. The whipped cream is made there in the store- with vanilla syrup and cream. I was told the vanilla powder for hot vanilla drinks was safe but when I looked at the label for retail - it was not. I was told the caramel and chocolate sauce -not the syrup was not safe. Same with the coco powder for hot cocos.

I wonder though - does anyone know if they ever pour the sauces - caramel or choc. in the blenders when making a drink?

On Sep 27, 2005

I called again and was told that the syrups don't have any nuts in them but can't guarantee no traces because they might be made on shared equipment, but wasn't sure. I guess it depends on who you talk to sometimes, unfortunately. I didn't think about the cross-contamination with the mocha powder in the blender. I feel really stupid about that. I've let him have a decaf frap about 5 times now.


On Sep 14, 2006

Sorry if this is reviving a dead topic but I'm a Starbucks junkie and am trying to figure out how to navigate restaurants with my 14 month old's probable PA.

If I have something like a Hazelnut latte... if it has nut extract in it, then can I kiss him afterward? Do I need to take some sort of precaution? Hopefully this isn't a dumb question.


On Sep 14, 2006

amyd -

It's not a dumb question!

Is your son PA only, or TNA as well?

If it truly has hazelnut extract in it, I would not kiss him afterwards. If it is artificially flavored and therefore doesn't actually contain any nut extract, kiss away! The reason I wouldn't kiss him even if he is only PA, is that the hazelnut could be cross contaminated with peanuts. And if you don't know for sure, it's best to totally avoid it.

Sorry - I hate flavored coffee myself, so I'm not familiar with their syrups.


[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited September 14, 2006).]

On Sep 15, 2006


Originally posted by amyd: [b]Sorry if this is reviving a dead topic but I'm a Starbucks junkie and am trying to figure out how to navigate restaurants with my 14 month old's probable PA.

If I have something like a Hazelnut latte... if it has nut extract in it, then can I kiss him afterward? Do I need to take some sort of precaution? Hopefully this isn't a dumb question.



As you see above, last year I called and got one answer (hazelnut and almond syrups have real nut extract in them) and someone else got a different answer.

The best bet is to call Starbucks directly and ask for a higher-up c/s person. When I called, I wasn't happy with what the first person told (I dunno...I think it's artificial), then I explained my allergy and asked for a manager. The manager took down all my info and concerns and it took her a few days, but she called me back after speaking to the manufacturer of the syrups to say they do have real hazelnut and almond extracts.

I never asked about the shelf-items to make Starbucks at home. I don't use those, they may be packaged or manufactured differently though.

Always best to read on here to see how far other inquiries got, then use that information in your own phone call to the company.

If you do call, please report back what you found [img][/img]


------------------ 30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy