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.


04 March 2013

Food Allergy Consumer Product Review: Maplehurst Bakeries


For years, I would pass by those cupcakes in the supermarket bakery department, wishing they were safe for my son's peanut and tree nut allergies. It'd be so convenient to be able to run down to the local store and grab a package of cupcakes for a party with last minute notice, instead of having to bake cupcakes myself. Then, several months ago, I started to notice packages of cupcakes at the supermarket with a peanut-free symbol. More recently, Maplehurst Bakeries contacted me about a review of their peanut-free cupcakes--the very ones I had spied at the local supermarket!




It turns out that the cupcakes with the peanut-free symbol are made in Maplehurst Bakeries' peanut-free facility in New Hampshire. A few years ago, the facility in New Hampshire was known as Freed's Bakery, but following a change in ownership, it's now part of Maplehurst Bakeries, a huge company which supplies supermarkets around the country with baked goods. There is a long and impressive list of supermarkets where Maplehurst Bakeries' peanut-free cupcakes are available:



ACME
Albertsons
BI-LO Farm
Fresh Giant of Carlisle
Giant of Maryland
Jewel-Osco
Kroger
Market Basket
Marsh
Publix
Shaw's
Shoppers Food Warehouse
ShopRite Smith's
Stop & Shop
Tops
Walmart
Weiss

Maplehurst Bakeries has quite a bit of information about their peanut-free cupcakes on their website, and even has included a letter explaining what steps they take to ensure their cupcakes are peanut-free. In reading the letter, I discovered that their cupcakes are, for all intents and purposes, free of tree nuts as well! It states:
  • "No peanuts or tree nuts are utilized in the manufacturing of products at the Manchester Facility. 
  • No peanuts or tree nuts are warehoused within the Manchester Facility.
  • The equipment at the Manchester Facility is not used to manufacture anything containing peanuts or tree nuts.
  • We test for the presence of peanuts and peanut products in the Manchester Facility. Due to a lack of accurate and reliable testing methods for detecting the presence of all tree nuts, we cannot and therefore do not make the claim that our product is “tree nut-free” due to lack of sufficient available testing.
  • Products made and labeled in our Manchester Facility bear the “peanut-free” logo and/or the “peanut-free” plant statement on the labels."
So, if you are managing peanut and/or tree nut allergies, and you've been wondering about those supermarket bakery cupcakes, when you see that peanut-free symbol and Maplehurst's name on the package, you can rest assured that no peanuts or tree nuts are in the manufacturing facility. It's such a big deal to be able to buy frosted cupcakes off the shelf at the local store!

FAB Review
Dedicated facility: Yes. No peanuts or tree nuts are in the facility. Labeled as peanut-free.
Appearance: Pretty frosted cupcakes in packages of 6 regular size or 12 mini cupcakes.
Taste: Sweet, light cupcakes
Texture: Moist
Convenience: Available at many supermarkets around the U.S. Modestly priced at about $2.99-$3.99 per package.
Buy again? Definitely! You can't beat the convenience and price.

UPDATE:
We received a couple of questions from readers which we forwarded on to Maplehurst. We thought the questions and answers would be helpful for you to read. Thank you to Maplehurst for the speedy reply!

Q1. Are the sprinkles manufactured in a peanut-free facility? How about tree nuts? 
"Some are manufactured in a peanut-free facility, but some aren’t. In the case of sprinkles manufactured in facilities that aren’t peanut-free, the processes highlighted below are followed to ensure against cross-contamination."

Q2. Are the ingredients for the cupcakes from peanut-free facilities and/or tree nut free facilities? 
"Most of the ingredients that Maplehurst purchases from external suppliers for their peanut-free cupcakes come from facilities that are peanut-free as well. However, some of their external suppliers have facilities that are not peanut-free. In this instance, these suppliers are held to strict production standards that safeguard against cross-contamination. Their processes are heavily monitored and frequently assessed. This involved swabbing tests of production lines and testing for the presence of peanuts in their ingredients."




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