OPINION: Bakeries should be more allergy friendly


Photo credit/ Sabrina Resuta

Bakeries need to be more helpful to those with food allergies.

Eight of the most common food allergies are cow’s milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, wheat (gluten), soy, and fish. Many bakeries use milk, eggs, gluten, and various nuts in their products. For those with gluten/wheat allergies, bakeries and dessert vendors often offer gluten free alternatives. However, with soy, peanuts, and tree nut allergies, there are no alternative options.

Since nuts are a common allergy, it should be easy to incorporate food and practices that are nut allergy friendly.

Some bakeries order their products from other places and can’t necessarily guarantee that their items are nut free. I think it would be worthwhile to examine the products that come in because nut-free options or precautions for those with nut allergies would likely bring in more customers.

As someone with a nut allergy, I can attest that it is a struggle finding a bakery with no nuts or various allergy friendly options. This is especially true because there is the possibility of cross contamination.

Cross contamination happens when an allergen comes into contact with a product. Sometimes people may not be careful when prepping food, like accidentally picking up an appliance that wasn’t thoroughly decontaminated and using it on another dessert.

Carelessness like that can lead to a deadly consequence if a customer consumes something with an allergen. To avoid this happening, most places make it clear that they cannot guarantee items will not come in contact with other allergens.

Thankfully, cross contamination is not entirely inevitable. Some ways to prevent cross contamination are by using different tools for allergens, having separate stations for allergens in bakeries, and examining all ingredients.

While this may sound like a huge pain and expenses may be a concern, I think it would pay off in the long run. The more allergy cautious a place is, the more customers will be attracted to it.

A lot of people cannot enjoy a dessert from a bakery or another vendor because they have an allergy. Allergy friendly bakeries exist but are not common.

There are some bakeries that are free of the eight most common allergies and some nut free ones. However, they are few and far between or long distance. Even bakeries that are allergy friendly aren’t perfect.

Erin McKenna’s bakery is a famous allergy friendly bakery that has five locations across the United States. According to their website, they are gluten free, vegan, and kosher.

However, about their bakery location in Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s website says that they have a nut warning because they use flour in shared equipment with other nuts despite being peanut free.

Because of distance problems, some people may not ever get the opportunity to go to a nut free bakery. People who have nut allergies should not have to worry about lack of options.

Should bakeries stop serving allergy items altogether? No they should not. Just because people have allergies doesn’t mean the serving of those items should stop altogether. However, certain precautions should be taken, like preventing cross contamination, and having separate boxes or ingredients on hand in the back.

It may be difficult but it is possible to do. People who have allergies shouldn’t have to suffer and neither should people who enjoy desserts that could potentially contain an allergen.

The most important thing to remember for people who have allergies is to be careful. Mistakes happen all the time and cross contamination is always a possibility. Even with doing research on the bakery before going there, it’s smart to ask in person or call ahead.

I choose to remain hopeful that we will see the rise of allergy friendly bakeries in the future.

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