starbucks-logo.jpg gf.jpgI am a huge champion of companies offering gluten free products.  However, today I came face to face with the type of thing most Coeliac's recoil in horror about.  I only wish I had thought of taking a picture of what I saw so as to have concrete evidence to show you why you should really avoid buying the Orange Gluten Free cake at Starbucks.

Here's what I saw:  two pieces of GF Orange cake sharing the same plate as a banana (not GF) cake and in fact the GF and Non-GF where touching!!!!!! Arghhhhh.  When I pointed this out to a member of staff she told me that the cake was displayed as per their food guidelines.  I explained in as nice a matter as I could that regardless of the guidelines, this was not acceptable as it could  make someone ill.   I said that she should put the two slices of cake in the bin as they were no longer gluten free.She looked suitably unimpressed and obviously considered me yet another well dressed nutter who has nothing else better to do than make her life difficult.  She went on with whatever she was doing and not having the guts to go behind the counter, grab the cake and put them in the bin, I thought I should just go away and write a letter to their head office person. A few minutes later I watched as she took out the tongs with which she had served all the other cakes and  then she shifted the orange cake along so it was no longer touching the banana cake.  Then she erected a little paper barrier between the two cakes.  It was a sweet moment and one I wish I had captured on film for you.  So the lesson here is don't eat the GF Cake at Starbucks and if you see something like this again, please please take a picture and send it to me for my wall of shame campaign.

UPDATE:  25 March 2010

After several weeks of trying to get to the bottom of this and trying to get in touch with a senior person at Starbucks, I received a phone call today from the head of customer service.  She has assured me that the matter is being looked at and is under review at the moment.  The need to satisfy the demands of coeliac customers as well as other customers who prefer to restrict wheat and gluten for lifestyle reasons is something that they are aware of.  She informed me that Starbucks will be trialling some new packaging options in their stores soon to see if packaging the products in the display case make the product more or less acceptable to customers.  They are also reviewing the labelling and are hoping to have more information on this in the next few months.  They are also placing a higher priority on the training of staff on all allergens as this is becoming an issue.  It seems that all of the branches will be given further information and training on allergens in the next few months.  As soon as I have further information I will pass this on. 

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Jelly.legs's picture
Jelly.legs wrote 10 years 31 weeks ago


Hi Adriana I wish you every success in your campaign against Starbucks. I, too, have had similar experiences and unless such establishments are brought to task, the needs of people with CD will continue to be ignored. Unfortunately, those who claim that they are not "super sensitive" are not helping the cause. I do not have symptoms from a small amount of gluten but it is still causing long term damage. Good luck - I believe that you have the voice and ability to change policy.

adriana's picture
adriana wrote 10 years 31 weeks ago


Thanks Jelly legs for your support.  I will do my best!