Labels don't always reveal all of the information we need. With current labeling laws, they only have to list actual ingredients, not whether or not an item was processed on the same lines as potential allergens. So sometimes we need to do a little more digging to find out.
Through my own research as well as tips from readers of this blog, I've found that nut-free cake and cookie decorating items like sprinkles, colored sugars and food color are some of the most difficult to find.
If you plan to bake much (and you probably will if you have a child with a nut allergy) then ordering safe nut-free items makes sense. Is it as convenient as a trip to the grocery store? Not always, but if you stock up you will have what you need when you need it. Plus, there are more "safe" items available at your local supermarket than ever before.
The list below offers some suggestions on decorating items that are nut-free. A few you can find at the supermarket, but it's worth ordering some of these online items for a huge variety as well as quality and non-artificial colors, etc. Of course, if you have any questions about products mentioned here or other products I haven't mentioned, please contact the company's customer service department for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Sprinkles/Cookie and Cake Decor
Cake Mate/Betty Crocker--Signature Brands These are readily available at the supermarket and many of these are safe for nut allergies. Here is a post I wrote about Cake Mate. Both Cake Mate and Betty Crocker are made by Signature Brands. In my e-mails and phone calls with this company, they tell me they will list cross-contact info on the package. Please contact Signature Brands directly for specific info.
Wilton. Wilton products are all very well-marked for allergens as well as May Contains type of allergy advisories, but you must read every label. In general their chocolate products are not safe for nut allergies, but many of their sugar decorations are fine to use. It depends on the product, as they may process different items in different facilities.
Americolor. Food coloring that's entirely nut-free. Karen McNeil, one of my blog readers, clued me into this one. Thanks, Karen! The colors are deep and rich and unlike a lot of the Wilton gel colors, they are safe for nut allergies. A great find! (Note: Wilton has detailed allergy labels. If you are interested in a specific product, check the label for more info.)
McCormick Brand I've used this brand many times for food coloring--they are very helpful when you e-mail or call. Unfortunately they do not list allergen info on their web site. I wrote about their vanilla extract and I also use their food coloring.
Divvies. They have amazing candy that you can use for cake decor. In fact, my daughters just used their "star" candies on a beach cake to make "starfish." This company is so awesome, and they have baked treats in addition to candy that is egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free.
Vermont Nut Free Chocolate One of my all-time faves for nut-free sweets, Vermont Nut Free has jelly beans and other nut-free candies you can use on your cakes and cookies. They also have delicious gourmet cocoa powder for baking as well as baking chocolate.
Surf Sweets. These gummy candies (and jellybeans) make great baking décor and they are gluten-free as well as free of nuts and the other "top 8" allergens. All-natural, GMO-free and organic.
Gimbals. Lots of great choices here including licorice scottie dogs, jellybeans and more, free of the top 8 allergens. All natural.
And remember: Please see the many great baking or prepared nut-free treats resources, located to the right of this page, if you want to purchase premade, nut-free treats!