Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baskin-Robbins Soft Serve: Yay or Nay?

So I am on a Baskin-Robbins email list and just got a notice about Bump Day - apparently any pregnant woman can go into the stores tomorrow TODAY, May 21st and get a free soft serve cone.

I did a little investigating and saw that you can get plain vanilla soft serve cones at BR. Their allergen facts page says it has no nuts or peanuts. In theory, one could go in there and get a soft serve vanilla cone without incidence. In theory. I mean, there's no double scooping or anything. It just squirts right out of the machine into a peanut/treenut free cone.

Seems simple, right?

With summer coming up, it would be great to be able to bring Bella to an ice cream place and let her get a cone with her cousins.

Not sure if I will take the chance.

What do you all think? Yay or Nay?


Jenny said...

Oh, boy the big ice cream debate. This is a tough one!! You know, I was just thinking about this the other day and hoping there will be some items in the freezer (unscooped, so no cross-contamination) that my daughter can have when we venture into an ice cream shop. That is an option we have tried in an ice cream shop that has worked for us.

I think if you talk to them beforehand and make your needs known, it should be OK. The biggest thing to find out is if the machine is "devoted" only to a particular, nut-free flavor. If it is, then I would feel pretty safe about it. I wonder if we moms should ask BR to devote a "nut-free" machine to people like us. It's a thought! You never know.

The thing that freaks me out about ice cream stores are the peanut "toppings" everywhere.

Good luck! Let us know if you go.

Michelle from MA said...

I totally feel your pain about the debate, my son has a SEVERE peanut allergy and I do allow him soft serve with NO TOPPINGS in a dish. I haven't tried the cone thing, but if you check the package you would be okay. Most ice cream places (here in Massachusetts at least) will allow you to look at the ingreds. on the package or box itself of the liquid they use for the soft serve machine. Good luck! Keep us posted and thanks again for your blog it is nice to know we are not alone in this peanut mess ;)

Connie said...

I would also want to know whether the machine was dedicated to nut-free ice creams.

The problem is my other child (no known allergies) would want to eat from the scoopable ice cream. So for us, we'd need to make separate trips with our two kids. Not worth it for us!

Collegegirl said...

As much as I want to say yay, my vote is NAY. With cross-contaminations and not-knowing. I would not take the chance!

Jane Anne said...

So, did you go? I am late but I would have voted no. This is SO hard -- I love BR ice cream. When I was pregnant last time I would sneak in there when I could with out the kids. I talked to one of the workers there and she said she would not bring my Peanut Allergic son into BR. They use nuts so much. You have to let us know what you decided.

dupree said...

that is a tough call. i might chance it, however we have egg allergy on top of peanut allergy, so no ice cream. only frozen yogurt or sherbert/sorbet.

Nicole said...

For us, we don't even attempt to go to BR. Too many nuts - and too many young, uniformed workers for my comfort level. We make our own ice cream - sometimes we go to Wendy's for a Frosty - I consider that a safe ice cream treat. Otherwise, nope.

MomEee said...

After having issues with just the peanut dust I wouldn't risk it. My vote is nay, the cross contamination and the fact that employees don't take what you're telling them seriously. It is life or death for us--so no! FYI--I really love this blog and just added to my reads list. My son is only 10 months and has already had some really horrible scares!

Jennifer B said...

Ugh. I know I am answering days later, but for what it's worth, I am with the NOs. Too scary. I actually know others who took the risk on "scoopable" and then had a reaction. I am too afraid to take the risk! I have no experience with the soft serve, but would not feel comfortable taking the word of the person who's behind the counter. With the high turnover in those job, they wouldn't know all the flavors that have been in that machine. Don't you wish we had real peanut-free, nut-free ice cream in the U.S.? Canada has Chapmans!

Charlotte said...

I don't have a child with a peanut allergy, but I worked in a Baskin Robbins for five years. We often had people come in with allergies, and I definitely think a soft serve cone should be fine for Bella. If you like, you can also double check with a manager or shift leader that the machine is washed every other morning (which was the Baskin Robbins policy when I was there), it should only ever contain vanilla or chocolate soft serve, and you obviously can ask the employee to wash his/her hands before serving the ice cream (or wear gloves) to prevent transfer.

Jon said...

Came across this forum by accident while google searching. I have managed 3 Baskin Robbins shops in CA since '97 and thought I would try to help provide some clarification on this subject.
1) Soft Serve Ice Cream in BR is only available in Vanilla, does not contain any nuts, and does not come into contact with any nut products. Some shops MAY have soft serve yogurt (mine never have), so I can't speak to weather those machines have ever had a peanut butter flavor that could potentially cause contamination. I would feel completely safe serving my nephew (who does have a peanut allergy) the soft serve ice cream.
2) BR uses almonds, not peanuts, as a topping for sundaes. We do, however, have Reese's peanut butter sauce used as a hot topping for some sundaes, 31 belows, and shakes.
3) BR lists the most common allergins for each scooped flavor on each flavor tag. If you have a severe allergy though, I would recommend explaining this to a manager and asking them to wash and sanitize the scooper prior to scooping. However, if the allergy is VERY severe, you may want to avoid all scooped product as there is no way to guarantee that an scooper that had soooped Peanut Butter 'n Chocolate hadn't then scooped Mint Chocolate Chip, and left trace peanut oils on the Mint CC ice cream. I would also recommend NOT getting a shake, blast, or smoothie as these could have been used to make a shake with peanut butter in it; unless you've asked a manager to wash it with a fresh wash sink.
4) Last recommendation I would make would be to check the freezer case with cakes and quarts for sundae cups. This are manufactured at a plant, and thus not handled by the staff. We have an Oreo flavor, if it doesn't have a warning about being manufactured in plant that handles tree nuts, you should be good to go.

I hope this in store perspective helps.

Gab said...

Thanks Jon, for your insight!

Anonymous said...

Glad I stumbled upon this thread two years later! Thank you so much to those who have worked at BR for sharing the "inside scoop" (groan...sorry, couldn't resist). My daughter has just outgrown a milk allergy but still has egg and peanut allergies, so we are learning how to handle ice cream. In the past we have gotten sorbet from ice cream parlors, asking them to scoop from a fresh unopened container in the back (this was the suggestion of a very helpful manager at a Cold Stone Creamery).