With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life allergen-free.

02 December 2008

Read the Labels for Toys Too

In a follow-up to my recent post, I have a photo of the allergen labels on a Girl Gourmet Cupcake maker package from a trip to Walmart in Massachusetts yesterday. Gale, an acquaintance from peanutallergy.com, snapped a quick shot of the package at a Sams Club in Indiana. She's given me permission to share the photo with you--thanks Gale! The labels do not bear the same allergen information. Confusing? We think so!

Click on the photo to enlarge. Keep in mind the press release stated:

"Kids and parents can also breathe easy when it comes to the ingredients for Girl Gourmet cupcakes which are gluten and wheat-free, trans-fat free, and made in a nut-free facility. Many children who suffer from Celiac and nut allergies will be able to participate in the art of cupcake making AND eating with all of their friends." (emphasis added by me)

Taken at Walmart in Massachusetts 12/01/08

Taken at Sams Club in Indiana 11/30/08
Think we need better labeling standards? Absolutely! It should not take a veritable committee and investigation to figure out the allergen situation for a baking mix! I alone have sent at least 4 emails trying to get some clear, consistent information. Others have emailed and phoned too. The manufacturer's most recent explanation for the inconsistent labels: 

"The Girl Gourmet cupcake ingredients are made on nut-free machinery and in a nut-free facility. The original Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker packaging that first hit the market (and is still available on shelves) reflected incorrect information regarding the ingredients. We have since updated and corrected the packaging, which is reflected on most of the products currently on shelves."

If anyone feels motivated, please email Jakks (the manufacturer) and tell them we need better labeling and clarity! The Jakks consumer relations email address is consumers@jakks.net. If you come across more confusing labels, please snap a photo with your phone and send it to Food Allergy Buzz. We need to wake these manufacturers up!

UPDATE: 5:00 PM same day. Have received email from Food-Tek, developer of Girl Gourmet mixes:

"Hello, everyone!

My name is Larisa, and I represent Food-Tek, Inc. We are the developer and licensor of the food mixes for the Girl Gourmet products, as well as one of the manufacturers. It has come to our attention that some of the original packaging was printed with an incorrect allergen statement, which was corrected on subsequent printings.

Here is the correct statement for the Cupcake Maker:
"Contains Milk, Egg and Soy ingredients. Mixes are processed in a facility that also processes Wheat ingredients."

And the correct statement for the Ice Cream Sandwich Maker:
"Contains Wheat and Soy ingredients. Mixes are processed in a facility that also processes Milk and Egg ingredients."

As far as your more specific questions, all facilities that process these products are completely peanut and tree nut free. Wheat ingredients are processed on the same equipment, however, mixes are tested by a third-party laboratory to assure that they are below the 20ppm maximum recommended by the Celiac-Sprue Association.

If you have any further questions, or if I missed anything, please let me know. Also, feel free to email me at 
lsim@foodtek.com or call me at 800-648-8114 for more information."
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