With the holiday baking season upon us, (yum!) I've had several e-mails about the safety of vanilla and other baking extracts. This is obviously a big concern for those of us who bake nut-free because most companies also produce almond extract.
I contacted three of the biggest manufacturers of vanilla extract and baking products: McCormick, Nielsen-Massey and Wilton. I'm very happy to report that 2 out of 3 of them don't even use "real" almond for their almond extract. Wilton, as most of you may have discovered already, is the most challenging, since they do have peanuts and tree nuts in their facility, even though some items are not sharing production lines. If you'd like to use their products, I'd say it's your call to make. Also, you may have to do some digging about each individual product. Their response below contains more info.
OK, here's what each company had to say in response to my e-mails inquiring about the safety of their extracts.
McCormick: "McCormick and Co. does not use peanuts or tree nuts in any of our facilities. The Oil of Bitter Almond used in our Pure Almond Extract is extracted from apricot kernels, not the almond itself."
Nielsen-Massey: "All of our products are nut free. We do not process anything with tree nuts in our facility. In fact our Almond Extract is actually made from bitter almond oil which comes from stone fruit pits such as peaches. Please be assured that all of our products are safe from nut allergens."
Wilton: "I have attached a link from our website that displays our vanilla extracts and the following allergy information:
No Peanuts/treenuts in the product but there are peanuts/treenuts present in the facility
No Peanuts/Treenuts in the product but there are peanuts/treenuts present in the facility
As far as our sprinkles and decorations are concerned, because we are very specific when it comes to food allergies, if you would kindly provide me with a few stock numbers from our website of some decorations that you are interested in because we want to make sure that we provide you with the correct information."
Thank you for all this wonderful research. Lots of great info for us and lots of work for you. That was very kind of you.
I almost did not realize where I was at, you changed your blog again... Love it...
Thanks, Elaine! Anyone who's been watching my blog the last week or so has probably gotten dizzy with all of the changes I've been making to the "banner" so I promise I'm leaving it as is,at least for awhile.
I hope the vanilla info is helpful to all!
Thank you for looking into this... I hadn't even thought of Vanilla extract as being a possible danger. Your blog is great.
Thank you for looking into this. I hadn't even thought about vanilla extract being a possible danger...so many things to think about. Your blog is very helpful!
First, I like the banner with the food face. (Is that what is on there right now?) You always seem to choose nice color combos too.
Anyhow, thanks for the excellent info on vanilla. We use so much vanilla in our house. All this cupcake baking and frosting making for these preschool in-class celebrations and then the parties on the weekends, etc. And isn't it odd that almond extract is not made out of almonds? That is so strange! Thanks for sharing this info.
This is great! Thank you!
Jenny, your blog looks great! I love the banner, very pretty!
Thank you so much! Sometimes I just do not know where my brain is- we use vanilla extract all the time and it never occurred to me to make the connection between possible cross contamination with almond extract lines. Talk about a "duh" moment.
By the way, I really enjoy your blog!
THANK YOU!!! I have just been wondering this myself. I even ordered a kit with vanilla beans and a bottle so I can make my own nut-free vanilla. Chinaberry sells it. But I'll be using McCormick's until it's ready.
Wow! I never worried about Vanilla but not only have you reassured me it's okay but now we can actually use almond extract in baking?! This is huge! Thank you! What a wonderful resource.
Thanks for bringing this up--I hadn't thought anyone would think I'm endorsing almond extract.
PLEASE don't use almond extract for nut-allergic people unless you check with your doctor. You never know, it all depends on the brand, etc. Plus, some stone fruits (peaches and apricots, for ex.) are in the almond family and their seeds could possibly affect a nut-allergic person.
This is something to discuss with your medical professional--I can only vouch for vanilla, at this point. Thanks! I don't want anybody getting sick. :)
i've recently stumbled across your blog when researching conversation hearts. totally admire the work you go through to put together your blog.
on the quest for finding safe vanilla (and crossing paths with your blog again) :) i wanted to add this link: http://www.frontiercoop.com/company/allergencontrol.html
for a organic option to safety. i recently bought simply organics vanilla and called for it's safety since it was labeled- only to be disappointed that it was in fact not safe and they clearly are not clarifying allergens on their label.
Hopes this helps. :)
Thanks for pointing that out about Organics brand vanilla.
Actually, I've noticed a lot of things marked "organic" in some way also have potential for cross contact with nuts, so be careful of "organic" everybody.
Omg thanks so much! I'm baking for my church but I was freaking out b/c my cousin's fiance is super allergic to nuts. This is a first time I'm dealing with nut allergy So I've been researching what not to do and I had to make sure my vanilla essence wouldn't do her harm. Thanks for the info!
Glad you stopped by, July St. Ingredients are just one factor in baking safely for people with nut allergies. Do you use a lot of nuts in your kitchen, peanut butter, etc.? Cross-contact may occur. See my post by clicking the image on the right sidebar of this blog under the heading "Not personally dealing with but allergies but looking to bake for someone..." Best, Jenny
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