Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Babycakes NYC

Babycakes NYC: A Final Word

An interesting set of events occurred over the last few weeks between this Allergic Girl and Babycakes NYC.

A friend, knowing I have multiple food allergies/sensitivities and this blog, made a generous email introduction to a colleague who works at the PR firm that is now representing Babycakes NYC. My friend was completely unaware of my past history with Babycakes NYC but I followed up with her friend, thinking this might be a golden opportunity for some allergen-free healing.

After I explained my past history with the bakery, the publicist said she would, “…pass along your questions to owner Erin McKenna to her to allow her an opportunity to address them.”

Great!

However, I still felt mistrustful of the owner and the bakery based upon my previous experiences and my questions reflected that level of lingering mistrust. Below is a sample of what I sent.

**

Question: Is your bakery nut-free?

Question: Do you still use spelt as a wheat-free cupcake option? [NOTE this is from the Babycakes website.]

Question: Please tell me about your staff training on food allergens. Who conducts your training? How often?

Question: If a consumer needs more allergen information than the website or sales staff can provide, who can they contact?

**

This was the reply I received: “Erin does not wish to participate in this Q&A as she reviewed the site and does not feel comfortable giving any further information to you at this time. I apologize as I know you have been waiting for these answers, but unfortunately, Erin is not willing to participate”.

Sigh. That's a shame. It could have been the start of a beautiful allergen-free friendship.

Shame too because many of you write in asking about an allergy-friendly bakery in NYC. I would've liked to recommend Babycakes NYC. I’d like to eat there myself; but I can’t feel comfortable and safe when I don’t know what I’m eating, how it’s been prepared, or how the staff is trained about allergies.

So, my final word on Babycakes NYC: I can not patronize, endorse nor recommend any establishment, especially one advertising itself as allergen-friendly, that does not have transparent food safety and business practices.

13 comments:

ChupieandJ'smama said...

That's really too bad. Those are legitimate questions that anyone who has food allergies or intolerances would ask. The scary thing for me, is that Babycakes is advertised EVERYWHERE and is touted as allergen friendly. Maybe it's not so friendly. At least Erin doesn't sound so friendly.

Allergic Girl said...

yes! which i why i felt it was important to follow thru with this PR firm to get some clear answers.

but no dice.

which is even more troubling...

imp said...

your questions are very valid and relevant.

this PR firm is not going to be lauded as very credible if it's owner isn't forthcoming with the ingredients as an 'allergen-free' bakery.

i'm curious as to what exactly are these secret ingredients that Babycakes can't reveal.

revealing it can only boost their branding, reputation and credibility.

perhaps they've no idea how far the reach of blogs are.

Catherine said...

I was told by a staff member not to eat there if I was 'really sensitive' - I won't eat there or endorse it on my site that's for sure.

Allergic Girl said...

--imp!

thanks for your comment.

these days they have the ingredients listed on their site, which is great!

however, when i went in there at the beginning on the year they said they were a "nut-free" bakery.

now the site says their GF flours are processed in a facility that processes nuts. "We do not bake with nuts; however, some of our vendors store nuts in the same facility as our chocolate products. Additionally, all of our gluten free flours are processed on on equipment that packages hazelnut and almond flours."

so my question to them [i didnt print the whole question, it was long] was more about a clarification about their nut-free-ness.

and still no reply.

--catherine, i hear you, "really sensitive"? what does that mean exactly? that's kinda of scary too.

Katherine said...

Well, that's certainly disappointing. I had already bookmarked them from the link thinking you and Erin would make nice and my daughters could benefit - but alas - off to clear the mark.

Thanks for your work on this blog!

Allergic Girl said...

certainly disappointing to say the least. but thanks for your comment and support katherine!

Alisa said...

That is disappointing... sorry I just couldn't think of a better word for it... I can't believe the way they are ignoring valid questions as if they are some big corp with stats to hide. It is a little bakery for goodness sakes!

I will update these notes on our site. thanks!

Allergic Girl said...

hey alisa,

you hit on the right question: what are they hiding?

and yes very disappointing, and surprising given that so many bigger companies like dr. praeger's have been so great, and forthcoming, and communicative.

Gabs said...

i hate to sound like a teenager, but that response to your questions was so lame! I can't imagine what she would have seen on your site that would have put her off - you're trying to recommend businesses that are friendly to allergy sufferers.

Even if her answers made us realize that it isn't safe for those with celiac or a nut allergy, her honesty would have spoke volumes.

sigh....

Allergic Girl said...

i agree gabs, thanks for the comment.

CeliacChick said...

That is really surprising to me. When I reviewed them, and they were fairly new, I actually got to meet with her and then follow up on the phone with questions. I guess now with all of her mainstream press the only way to get through is with the PR person. *sigh* I've since heard there has been some confusion because of clueless staff. I was just there last week and one girl was clueless, but the guy behind the counter was super helpful and knowledgable...even though I know the gf cookies are safe for me he went out of his way to, what seemed like, to cover for the clueless girl. Then again, I can't blame Erin for feeling a little put off in the beginning with some bloggers that, instead of talking to her when she was available, just blogged about the wheat-free/spelt discrepancy. *sigh* Perhaps people not communicating fairly in the beginning has ruined it now for those wanting to communicate with her now. I agree with you though, it doesn't look good for her not to respond.

Allergic Girl said...

thanks for your comment, celiac chick.