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Starbucks...grrr


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19 replies to this topic

#1 m1chellep

 
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Posted 08 November 2010 - 05:49 PM

I will no longer be a consumer of Starbucks and I am heartbroken. Due to allergies and SB's refusal to care and share information re: ingredients used. I called and they simply read the ingredients to me. I can read. I have read the bottles. Tell me what is hiding behind "natural flavorings". It is 2010. We all have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies. Especially if it could make us sick.
This was a long and frustrating call to customer care at Starbucks. They gave me that shpeel about "cross contamination" and "proprietary information"....the end result? Nothing in Starbucks can be guaranteed free of gluten. Not even syrups.
On a side note my local SB uses Dairy Glen Eggnog and I placed a call to Lucerne (parent company) and they told me that their eggnog IS gluten free. All Lucerne egg nogs are free of gluten.
Thought I would share.
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#2 GFreeMO

 
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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:53 PM

I will no longer be a consumer of Starbucks and I am heartbroken. Due to allergies and SB's refusal to care and share information re: ingredients used. I called and they simply read the ingredients to me. I can read. I have read the bottles. Tell me what is hiding behind "natural flavorings". It is 2010. We all have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies. Especially if it could make us sick.
This was a long and frustrating call to customer care at Starbucks. They gave me that shpeel about "cross contamination" and "proprietary information"....the end result? Nothing in Starbucks can be guaranteed free of gluten. Not even syrups.
On a side note my local SB uses Dairy Glen Eggnog and I placed a call to Lucerne (parent company) and they told me that their eggnog IS gluten free. All Lucerne egg nogs are free of gluten.
Thought I would share.

I got the same response from Starbucks. They said that if the label does not say gluten free, it can't be stated that it is a gluten free product. Coffee included. They can keep their over-priced coffee anyway!
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#3 Emilushka

 
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Posted 10 November 2010 - 07:02 AM

What? The coffee could be cross-contaminated? Even if you just get drip coffee with soy milk in it? How do you cross-contaminate that???
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#4 kareng

 
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Posted 10 November 2010 - 07:11 AM

What? The coffee could be cross-contaminated? Even if you just get drip coffee with soy milk in it? How do you cross-contaminate that???


My Starbucks is very careful with the spoons they use to stir. But we still came to the conclusion that the safest is for them to put it in the cup and I use a straw to stir it. A few of the flavorings may not be gluten-free and spoons at some stores are only lightly rinsed between stirring of different cups.

I think the "can't guarentee gluten-free" statement si a CYA statement.
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#5 jerseyangel

 
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Posted 10 November 2010 - 07:47 AM

I think the "can't guarentee gluten-free" statement si a CYA statement.

I do too. I get tea lattes from Starbucks several times a week and have for years. Never a problem.

Having said that, there are things there that are not gluten-free like the vanilla powder, mocha chips, and a few teas. There may be a few others, they will let you know about individual items if you call.
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#6 Emilushka

 
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Posted 10 November 2010 - 07:56 AM

My Starbucks is very careful with the spoons they use to stir. But we still came to the conclusion that the safest is for them to put it in the cup and I use a straw to stir it. A few of the flavorings may not be gluten-free and spoons at some stores are only lightly rinsed between stirring of different cups.

I think the "can't guarentee gluten-free" statement si a CYA statement.


So I'd probably be safe if I just asked them to not stir the coffee?
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#7 kareng

 
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Posted 10 November 2010 - 07:59 AM

So I'd probably be safe if I just asked them to not stir the coffee?


That's what I do. I get skim milk lattes with splenda in them. They always want to stir the splenda in. Each Starbucks, depending on the size, operates slightly differently. I just look at what they do and I don't make a fuss. I just say I have food allergies.
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Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare.  They are consumed in 12 minutes.  Half-times take 12 minutes.  This is not a coincidence.  - Emma Bombeck
 
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#8 GFreeMO

 
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Posted 10 November 2010 - 08:36 AM

What? The coffee could be cross-contaminated? Even if you just get drip coffee with soy milk in it? How do you cross-contaminate that???

They said that they can't say any of the coffee is Gluten-Free due to CC during processing. (the new flavored coffees and storage of the beans before processing) Starbucks coffee that I brewed at home made me very sick. I have since stopped all coffee since Folgers will tell you the same thing. I switched to tea.
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#9 SaraKat

 
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Posted 15 November 2010 - 11:02 AM

I get their Pikes blend every morning and have never had a problem. I am too scared to try any of the fancy drinks though.
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#10 Gemini

 
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Posted 15 November 2010 - 12:12 PM

I will no longer be a consumer of Starbucks and I am heartbroken. Due to allergies and SB's refusal to care and share information re: ingredients used. I called and they simply read the ingredients to me. I can read. I have read the bottles. Tell me what is hiding behind "natural flavorings". It is 2010. We all have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies. Especially if it could make us sick.
This was a long and frustrating call to customer care at Starbucks. They gave me that shpeel about "cross contamination" and "proprietary information"....the end result? Nothing in Starbucks can be guaranteed free of gluten. Not even syrups.
On a side note my local SB uses Dairy Glen Eggnog and I placed a call to Lucerne (parent company) and they told me that their eggnog IS gluten free. All Lucerne egg nogs are free of gluten.
Thought I would share.


With regards to natural flavorings....the vast majority of them are gluten-free and if there was wheat in any of them, it would have to be listed on the label, under the allergen law. Not so true for barley, however, but from all the updated information I have read, natural flavorings are another item that keeps getting a bad rep with regards to it's gluten-free status. You must check up on things, for sure, but if there was wheat as an ingredient, it would have to be listed on the bottle. All of the syrups I have used at Starbuck's, and I admit not too many, are gluten-free. They are sugar syrups and not much more. However, I have no idea if the more exotic flavors are but I never use them so don't have an interest in finding out.

Starbuck's is only doing what any smart business does....protecting themselves from frivolous lawsuits. Nothing can be 100% guaranteed gluten-free unless it's made completely from scratch in a gluten-free facility and all the ingredients can be verified or certified as to their gluten-free status. We know those exist but mainstream life isn't like that. It does get easier to figure all this out but can be frustrating in the beginning.

Starbuck's offers a lot more gluten-free snacks and goodies in the UK and you won't see that here for this very reason. Americans are too sue happy over things like this. I am annoyed because you can actually have lunch at Starbuck's in the UK as they have some fantastic salads. They are all individually wrapped too so little to no chance of CC. I never got sick once, and I am one of those highly sensitive Celiacs who reacts to minute amounts of gluten. Never had a problem. They do try as I have noticed that my local store is now posting signs telling people to inform them beforehand if they have food allergies when ordering so they will be aware of that when preparing the drinks. That's all they are obligated to do.
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#11 brendygirl

 
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 10:23 AM

FRANKLY, I avoid Starbucks ever since they came out with that gluten free orange cake or muffin thing and I went to the one by my house and they didn't have it- only certain stores were testing it out. Within a couple weeks, before I had the chance to try another location, they had pulled it, as a failure.
If all businesses did that with gluten free stuff, we'd never have any.
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#12 Gemini

 
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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:24 AM

FRANKLY, I avoid Starbucks ever since they came out with that gluten free orange cake or muffin thing and I went to the one by my house and they didn't have it- only certain stores were testing it out. Within a couple weeks, before I had the chance to try another location, they had pulled it, as a failure.
If all businesses did that with gluten free stuff, we'd never have any.


This is exactly what I am talking about....they pulled it because it was their label, therefore, their liability. If you notice now, they have outside vendor gluten-free snacks available for purchase. It's all pre-packaged and not their label so they have no liability. I agree, it's extremely disappointing but with American society being what it is, I can understand their reluctance to continue with their own line of foods. My feeling is that if you have Celiac and decide to eat something not from your kitchen, you assume responsibility. I have been glutened a couple of times in the past 5 years from outside food and although it is upsetting, it's not the end of the world, I am not going to die from it and I will get better. Lesson learned. Sometimes it's very successful, sometimes it isn't but the number of times it isn't is so minimal, I don't get all bent out of shape about it. However, there are those who would threaten to sue or would sue, as we have seen in the past with companies like McDonald's.

The UK has different liability laws so businesses are more protected from wacky consumers. Therefore, more food is offered. Starbuck's had salads, which were very good, gluten-free brownies and gluten-free chocolate muffins. Not going to happen here in the US anytime soon, unfortunately!
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#13 healthy_000

 
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Posted 11 December 2010 - 05:15 PM

grrr


grrr :)

I agree. Bad experience there today. When I asked if one of the beverages was gluten free (and I was the ONLY person in line) the Starbucks cashier gave me a half angry/half clueless look and said: "I have no idea." When I mentioned: "it is important", she yelled across the store to her co-worker: "Is the egg nog gluten free?" Co-worker replied to her that she'd need to read the label. She looked at me and said: "I'd have to read the label" as if I hadn't heard and as if it was a huge problem for her to do so, and then she continued to stand there staring at me, tapping her fingers on the register waiting for my order.

No tip for you!



(I spend a ton of time traveling which is very difficult being new to all this. Just 2 days ago I gave a 30% tip to a very helpful hotel restaurant waiter. They didn't have a gluten free menu and I don't think he'd ever had a request for gluten free food--he probably didn't even know why I was asking for gluten free, but at least he tried and was pleasant.)
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#14 mushroom

 
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Posted 11 December 2010 - 06:18 PM

grrr :)

I agree. Bad experience there today. When I asked if one of the beverages was gluten free (and I was the ONLY person in line) the Starbucks cashier gave me a half angry/half clueless look and said: "I have no idea." When I mentioned: "it is important", she yelled across the store to her co-worker: "Is the egg nog gluten free?" Co-worker replied to her that she'd need to read the label. She looked at me and said: "I'd have to read the label" as if I hadn't heard and as if it was a huge problem for her to do so, and then she continued to stand there staring at me, tapping her fingers on the register waiting for my order.

No tip for you!

You should have said, Yes, would you please read the label for me, or allow me to read it? , before saying "it is important". I have done that, and it usually works if you smile sweetly


(I spend a ton of time traveling which is very difficult being new to all this. Just 2 days ago I gave a 30% tip to a very helpful hotel restaurant waiter. They didn't have a gluten free menu and I don't think he'd ever had a request for gluten free food--he probably didn't even know why I was asking for gluten free, but at least he tried and was pleasant.)


We had a young waiter who I think was working summer vacation at a restaurant in a town in the CA gold country, a bit off the beaten path. He also had never heard of gluten but bent over backwards for us to find out what it was, communicated several times with the chef to get recommendations and answer questions, and we had a great meal. He got a great tip!


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#15 sunshinen

 
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Posted 10 January 2011 - 06:27 PM

I keep banging my head against this wall... I really miss Starbucks, but they are definitely taking the CYA! approach on allergens and gluten. ... In a really irresponsible way, I think. They don't publicly announce that all of their drinks are probably contaminated, so the poor souls who naturally assume coffee beans and milk should be safe are putting themselves at risk.

After getting a curt response of "no drinks are gluten free." I tried again and asked the less legally intimidating "what drinks do not contain gluten ingredients", and got a longer explanation that was still essentially: Nothing is safe due to cross contamination.
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