Monday, April 20, 2015

To have Starbucks or Not?!?!

Where is your favorite place to get a coffee fix?  Due to its convinience, I'll admit mine has been Starbucks -however, I've seen some conflicting information on their beverages being safe.  Recently, I contacted Starbucks to verify Gluten Free options. I've always loved to get a Carmel Machiatto fix, and Miss J has always loved their Peppermint Hot Chocolate...and of course their new Gluten Free Marshmallow Dream Bar.  Well, the response from Starbucks was not as I suspected!  They advised the ONLY Gluten Free option os the Gluten Free Marshmallow Dream Bar.  To clarify beverages were included, I even replied to the email to verify!  Yes, in deed they were!  My stomach dropped!!  Needless to's going to be tough to drop getting my Starbucks fix -but, glad we still have the option for the Gluten Free Marshmallow Dream Bars.  However, how can you walk into a Starbucks and resist the temptation of not getting a beverage!?!?  


The response received from Starbuck:

Greetings Melanie!

We're delighted you contacted us.

The ingredients used in Starbucks food and beverage products are screened for safety and compliance with laws, and we have undertaken many initiatives to limit unnecessary food additives and provide choices for our customers. This includes a number of low calorie choices, organic foods and low salt items.

Starbucks continues to responsibly develop new products, adding more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, that undergo rigorous assessments for safety, premium quality and to meet customers' expectations. Starbucks stands behind the safety, premium quality and nutritional value of our product offerings.

Nationally, the only Certified Gluten Free product we offer is the Gluten Free Marshmallow Dream Bar. The Chewy Chocolate Cookie is not certified gluten free but is "flourless."
Starbucks is unable to guarantee a "gluten-free" environment in our retail locations due to the potential for cross contamination with gluten-containing products. The open environment and operating procedures of our store locations may present additional risk for gluten-sensitive customers aside from the gluten-containing ingredients themselves. "Gluten-free" is a claim with specific requirements defined by government agencies and industry standards. We are unable to make this claim on a product unless the item is specifically formulated and manufactured to meet the definition of the claim.

We take your concerns about this seriously and want to assure you they have been thoroughly documented and shared with all appropriate departments here in Starbucks corporate office.

If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Dominick V.
customer service

Now...onto finding other options.  I've contacted both Panera Bread and Einsteins particularly for their beverages.  To me, Panera Bread & Einsteins are too much of a contamination risk with food items.  So far, I've only heard back from Panera and their response is below.

Panera definitely gave a very detailed response, and also like that they offer Nutrition Information on their website, too!  At our local Panera location, the beverage area is separate from the food prep area; which reduces contamination risk...especially since all the beverages are listed as Gluten Free.  I'm also on the search for a local, small business coffee shop.  I'd love to hear of any that you love!  We are all about supporting small businesses...especially since my hubby owns one!  Please leave a comment below to pass on your favorite coffee fix!  

Hi Melanie,

I’ll be happy to share more details about our menu. Please see below for a list of our menu items that are made without gluten-containing ingredients. However, because we bake fresh bread daily in our bakery-cafes and bread is core to our menu, we simply cannot ensure that there has been no contact between these items, or any other menu items, and gluten.

Nutrition information and complete ingredients are also available on our website, Menu items offered only in test markets or on a regional basis do not appear on the website. Please ask a manager for the nutritional information at the bakery-cafe where the item is offered.

Please note that nutritional information on our website is updated periodically. Tests of new recipes of existing products may be conducted from time to time in certain markets. These new recipes may contain different/additional ingredients, including allergens, as compared to the original version. For the most update-to-date information, please call or visit your nearest bakery-cafe to speak with a manager.

Although we would like to be able to offer gluten-free bread, this option is not operationally feasible for us at this time. The dough for our breads is made in our Fresh Dough Facilities and transported daily in refrigerated trucks to our bakery-cafes where it is shaped, scored, topped and baked. With all of the wheat-based products being made in our Fresh Dough Facilities, there is no way to isolate a gluten-free dough area.

Cross contact in this situation, as well as in our bakery-cafes, would always be a possibility. We would need an entirely separate facility to make the dough for gluten-free breads and a dedicated area to bake the breads and make the sandwiches. However, we will be happy to note your request for future consideration to our Product Development team. 

We want your visit to Panera Bread to be warm and relaxing with friendly service and deliciously handcrafted food you can enjoy and feel good about, and we truly appreciate your feedback. I hope you’ll visit again soon and give us another chance to share the Panera warmth.


Panera Bread Customer Care

NOTE: Although we try to meet your special requirements, we cannot ensure that these items have not come into contact with gluten in our bakery-café.

** Gorgonzola (G) and bleu cheeses (BC) are commonly made with mold incubated on wheat. Some may choose to avoid these cheeses for this reason and you may substitute another cheese if you prefer. Items containing these ingredients are indicated below with (G) or (BC).

Salads  (including the salad dressing) (source of modified food starch is corn)
•  Greek & Greek with Chicken
•  Caesar & Chicken Caesar (without croutons)
•  Asian Sesame Chicken  (without wonton noodles)
•  Classic Cafe & Classic Cafe with Chicken
•  Fuji Apple Chicken (G/BC)
•  Chicken Cobb with Avocado (G/BC)
•  Seasonal Fruit Cups
•  Thai Chicken (without wontons, vinaigrette, and peanut sauce)
•  BBQ Chicken (without frizzled onions)
•  Crumbly Bleu Cheese Salad (G)
•  Southwest Caesar & Southwest Chicken Caesar (without southwest Caesar dressing)
•  Steak and Blue Cheese (G/BC) (without frizzled onions)

Salad Dressings
•  Balsamic Vinaigrette
•  Caesar
•  Greek/Herb Vinaigrette
•  Asian Sesame Vinaigrette
•  White Balsamic Fuji Apple Vinaigrette
•  Light Buttermilk Ranch (select markets only)
•  Raspberry Vinaigrette
•  BBQ Ranch
•  Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

•  Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean
•  Creamy Tomato (without croutons)
•  Fire Roasted Tomato
•  All Natural Turkey Chili with Beans

•  Coffee‐ all varieties
•  Juice, both apple and orange
Beverages, continued
•  Lemonade
•  Milk
•  Soda, fountain and bottled
•  Brewed Tea, tea bags, Chai Tea (hot & iced) and green tea
•  All lattes, espresso drinks & Frozen beverages
•  Smoothies
•  Signature Hot Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Marshmallows

•  Plain Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Reduced Fat Plain Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Reduced Fat Chive and Onion Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Reduced Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Reduced Fat Roasted Vegetable Medley Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Reduced Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Reduced Fat Hazelnut Cream Cheese Spread‐ U.S.
•  Herb & Garlic‐ Canada
•  Honey Walnut‐ Canada
•  Light Plain‐ Canada
•  Plain‐ Canada

Breakfast Hot Plates (without toast)
•  Ham and Cheddar Omelette
•  Ranchero Omelette
•  Vegetarian Omelette
•  Scrambled Eggs

Hidden Menu
•  Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
•  Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad
•  Power Steak Lettuce Wraps
•  Power Chicken Hummus Bowl

•  Panera Bread Potato Chips (Kettle cooked and Baked Crisps)
•  Napa Chicken Salad (Add on option for salads)
•  Tuna salad (Add on option for salads)
•  Chicken Walnut Salad (Add on option for salads)
•  All meats (including steak, ham, turkey, roasted turkey, salami, bacon, citrus pepper chicken, smoked chicken, salmon [seasonal], shrimp [seasonal], sausage patty)
•  All cheeses (see gorgonzola and blue cheese reference above)
•  Quinoa

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