Food Allergy Advice For Cake Decorators – update 22/02/2012

I have decided to update my original post of the same name as it is still very popular and a lot of the information it provided has now changed. 

I have been making celebration cakes for people on special diets for as long as I have been making cakes and have spent a lot of time making sure the ingredients are safe to use for individual diets. I constantly check to see if the ingredients have changed or new products come on the market.

As a cake decorator are you are being asked more frequently if you can make cakes for special diets?
Do you get confused with ingredient lists?

I have put together a list of the common icings and sugarcraft ingredients used in the UK and allergy advice on each.

There are hidden ingredients that you may not think about. The main ingredient that causes confusion is Glucose syrup. This ingredient is found in most sugarcraft products.

Glucose can be made from any kind of starch and is used in sugary foods to soften texture and prevent crystallisation of sugars.

Most of the world seems to make glucose syrup from corn and call it corn syrup rather than glucose syrup. In Europe glucose syrup is made with corn and wheat.

If you buy your ingredients from a catering wholesaler there is a good chance the glucose in the product will be made from wheat, – this includes glace cherries and mixed peel.

To be sure what is in a product ask your supplier for the food specifications. This is a printed sheet which gives a description of a product, packaging info, shelf life, origin, ingredients and their derivatives  and any allergy information.

You may be wondering ‘what is the problem with glucose?

Glucose syrup is gluten-free. It can be derived from wheat but the production methods make it safe for people with coeliac disease to eat.

Research on whether wheat derived glucose syrup is safe for a person with a wheat or gluten allergy or intolerance strongly suggests that it should be fine for them to eat. I follow this advice but everyone’s tolerance and reactions are different. Some people with a wheat allergy or intolerance say it does affect them and even some Coeliacs too. If I have a customer who can’t eat wheat, I will ask them if glucose syrup or maltodextrin affects them personally.

Manufacturers do not have to state where the glucose syrup in their products derives from so you will have to contact them to get this information.

The following legislation applies to cake decorators selling cakes directly to the consumer.

Since November 2011 EU law now states that food whether prepackaged or sold loose has to provide information if it contains any of the following allergens or ingredients derived from the following allergens

Peanuts and products thereof – found in sauces, cakes, desserts, groundnut oil, peanut flour.

Nuts and products thereof, namely; almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts, except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
– found in sauces, desserts, crackers, bread, ice cream, marzipan, ground almonds, nut oils.

Soybeans and products thereof,
except:

(a) fully refined soybean oil and fat ( 1 );

(b) natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, and natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources;

(c) vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources;

(d) plant stanol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soybean sources;

Soya can be found in tofu or beancurd, soya flour and textured soya protein, some ice creams, yogurts, sauces, desserts, meat products, vegetarian products, ready made meals, margarines, lecithin.

Mustard and products thereof – Including liquid mustard, mustard powder and mustard seeds, in salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, curries, meat products.

Lupin and products thereof – lupin seeds and flour found in some types of bread and pastries.

Eggs and products thereof – found in cakes, mousses, sauces, pasta, quiche, some meat products, mayonnaise, foods brushed with egg.

Fish and products thereof,
except:
a)fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations;
b) fish gelatine or isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine

– found in some salad dressings, pizzas, relishes, fish sauce and some soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Crustaceans and products thereof
– shrimps, prawns, , scampi, crab, shrimp paste, crayfish, lobster

Cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, Kamut,or their hybridised strains, and products thereof,
except
a) wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
b) wheat based maltodextrins
c) glucose syrup based on barley
d) cereals used for making alcohol distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
– found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley and foods containing flour, such as bread, pasta, cakes, pastry, meat products, sauces, soups, batter, stock cubes, breadcrumbs, food dusted with flour. Most oats are also contaminated with gluten containing cereals in the milling process.

Sesame seeds and products thereof
 – found in bread, breadsticks, tahini, houmous, sesame oil.

Celery and products thereof
 – including celery stalks, leaves and seeds and celeriac, in salads, soups, celery salt, some meat products.

Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre in terms of the total SO2 which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers
– found in meat products, fruit juice drinks, dried fruit and vegetables, wine, beer.

Milk and products thereof
except
a) whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
b) lactitol

 – including milk products. Cream, butter, cheese, yogurt. Found in many ready made foods.

Molluscs and products thereof – abalone, clams, mussels, octopus, oysters, squid and scallops.

Also if you are still using one or more of six food colourings being voluntarily phased out, you must include a warning on products. In addition to the standard required information,

labels must also have a warning using the following wording: ‘the name or E number of the colour(s)’ may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’. The colours are:

  • sunset yellow (E 110)
  • quinoline yellow (E 104)
  • carmoisine (E 122)
  • allura red (E 129)
  • tartrazine (E 102)
  • ponceau 4R (E 124)

From January 2012 food producers cannot label their food as gluten free unless it has been tested for the gluten levels. It now has to be labelled with – No gluten containing ingredients. See this link for further information:

www.icedgembakes.co.uk/special-diet-blog/hints-and-tips/new-gluten-free-food-labelling-for-caterers

Take a look at the list below for a one-stop guide to popular sugarcraft products and their allergens. If you want to add any brands I’ve missed or let me know of any changes, please do get in touch.

Product ingredients and their derivatives can change from batch to batch so always check the label. 

Key:
v = vegan / does not include any animal ingredients including eggs, dairy, gelatine or honey.
df = dairy / lactose free
nf = nut free
gf = gluten free
ef = egg free

Sugarpaste / Rolled Fondant

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Renshaws sready to roll icing Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Made in a factory that handles nuts glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Dr Oetker Regal-Ice Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free May contain nuts  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Pettinice vegetarian Gluten Free Contains dairy Egg Free Nut Free  Egg and gluten in the same factory
Covapaste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Silverspoon Ready To Roll Icing Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free may contain traces of egg May contain traces of nuts Glucose derives from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
M & B Sugarpaste Vegan Gluten free Dairy free Egg free Nut free Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Satinice vegetarian Gluten free Dairy free contains egg Nut free  completely free of wheat and corn products

 

Marzipan – Almond paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Odense Vegan Contains gluten Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts
Ingram Brothers vegetarian Contains gluten Contains dairy Egg free Contains nuts
Dr Oetker Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Silverspoon Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Sainsburys Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Waitrose Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Asda Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Tesco Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten

 

Flower paste (gum paste)

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen
Flower paste
vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugar City Platinum Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free
Sugar City Diamond Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free

 

Mexican / modelling paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Mexican Paste vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Instant Mix Mexican Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Sugar Dough Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Pastillage Vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugar City Mexican Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Nut free
Sugar City Modelling Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Nut free

 

Fondant/ Poured Fondant

Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Fondant Icing Mix Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free  Egg Free  May contain traces of nut
Tate & Lyle Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free
Silver Spoon Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain egg Nut Free
Almondart block fondant Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free egg free Nut Free

 

 

Chocolate Paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen dark chocolate Cocoform vegetarian Gluten Free May contain traces of milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen milk chocolate Cocoform vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen white, green and red chocolate Cocoforms vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen flavoured cocoforms (English mint, Brazillian orange, cappuccino and strawberry) Vegetarian except strawberry Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Regalice luxury white chocolate Sugarpaste vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Regalice luxury chocolate Sugarpaste vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Tracey Mann dark chocolate paste vegetarian Gluten Free May contain traces of milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten

 

Dried egg white

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen pure albumin vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut
Dr Oetker egg white powder vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg Nut free
Meri-White vegetarian Contains gluten from wheat made in a factory that handles dairy Contains egg Contains wheat

 

Royal Icing Mix

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut
Tate & Lyle vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg Nut free

 

Supermarkets now stock Dr Oetker writing icing which does not contain any of the allergens and is handy for piping a simple message or decoration. Always check the label as ingredients change all the time. Alternatively, use watered down sugarpaste, which works well piped from a piping tube. Water down with pre-boiled water to prevent bacterial growth.

Food colouring

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Powder colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut
Squires Kitchen paste colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugarflair powder colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Sugarflair paste colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Sugarflair liquid colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Orchard cake tools powder colour vegetarian Gluten Free Contains dairy Egg Free  contains lactose and cornflour

 

Glucose Syrup

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Dr Oetker’s glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Silver Spoon’s glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Glucose made from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten

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32 Responses to “Food Allergy Advice For Cake Decorators – update 22/02/2012”

  1. Lesley says:

    I am making a birthday cake for a little boy who is gluten and wheat intolerant. I have bought Fiddes Payne mini marshmallows (available in most supermarkets in UK) to make marshmallow fondant. I have had confirmation from Fiddes Payne that none of the ingredients are derived from wheat and they are in the process of updating their packaging. Hope this is useful.

  2. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Lesley,

    That’s great. Thank you for letting us know.

  3. Denise Banks says:

    What a useful site. So glad I have found you. As a rule I don’t make cakes that are suitable for people with intolerances but am making an exception for a bride. Thank you for the information regarding the gluten free products!

  4. […] scegliere una marca di pasta di zucchero pronta che si dichiari gt ( a tal proposito ho trovato questo sito che ne parla, ma meglio sempre leggere l’etichetta od informarsi direttamente dal produttore; […]

  5. NK says:

    Hello there

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for this information. I have a 5 year old who is very allergic to many many foods including wheat, eggs, nuts, and legumes.

    I have asked her allergy team, dieticians and manufacturers about whether glucose syrup is ok for her. They’ve always said it should be but as she is anaphylactic to wheat, I’ve never felt like trying.

    I have a quick question about your updated table. if there is no entry under the Other Info column, does that mean the items are wheat free? Or does it just mean that the information isn’t known. I was so excited to see so many items listed as having glucose syrup not derived from wheat on the original article but I guess that’s not quite the same.

    Do you know if the dried glucose in Tate and Lyle fondant icing is still derived from Maize/corn?

    Also, my daughter is allergic to rapeseed so do you know if E442 which is rapeseed derived lecithin would be okay for her. I recently discovered that some cadbury’s chocolates are nut free and if I could give her those that would be great as I think they taste much nicer than the kinnerton ones, but cadburys use E442. My daughter is ok with soya lecithin even though she is allergic to soya, so it’s all a bit more confusing. Again I have asked her allergy team including the dietician but they didn’t know.

    Thanks so much again. :)

    Lesley, thanks for the info about fiddies payne marshmallows. I can now make some rice krispie cakes for my family without worrying. :)

  6. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Nimisha

    Thank you for your message. I’m sorry to hear about your daughters allergies. That must be very hard for you all and scary too.

    When I wrote the original article all the companies I contacted were using maize derived glucose. I’m assuming companies use whichever is the cheapest and this can change from batch to batch so if this is a concern you should contact the company and they can tell you for the batch you have. I have found most companies will get back to me within a day or so.

    Regarding the other info columns. The food colourings listed do not contain any glucose except Squires Kitchen Paste colour. Sugarcity Flower and Platinum pastes did not respond to my email this time so I cannot tell you where their glucose derives from but as I said this can change between batches.

    I couldn’t say whether E442 would be ok to try.

    I have a copy of a report into whether wheat derived glucose is free from traces of wheat. I will email it to you to read.

    Have you been to http://www.foodsmatter.com This is a brilliant website full of advice, reports and information from different sources about allergies and intolerances. There is also forums so you can talk to other people in a similar situation

    Best wishes,

    Gemma

  7. Aliya says:

    My 3 year old son has recently being diagnosed coeliac. His birthday is coming up next month and I wanted to bake him a football cake. Was not sure about the icing for decoration. You have sold my problem. Can’t tell you how happy am I to have found this article. Can’t wait to buy your book. Thank you so much :)

  8. Iced Gem says:

    Thank you Aliya. Good luck with the cake.

  9. Laura says:

    I’ve just bought your last book and I really like it.
    I’ve a question for you.
    Either here or in your book I found some labels which should be “gluten free”, some days ago, I wrote to different companies to be sure about the absence of gluten.
    Regarding Renshaw, look at the answer they wrote me:
    Dear Laura, Thank you for your enquiry. Our product does not contain gluten, gluten is not used in factory however we can not guarantee the status of our suppliers and no validation testing is performed.
    Kind regards

    Can you help me please? I wrote to other producers that on their site wrote “gluten free” and the answer was pretty the same.

    Many thanks, I wish you a happy new year
    Laura

  10. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for buying my book. I’m pleased you like it.

    I have written to all the companies listed and asked for allergy information about their products a number of times over the last few years and have always been told the product is gluten free.

    New labelling laws brought in January 2012 state that companies have to test their products to be able to call them gluten free. If they do not test their product they have to label them as ‘no gluten containing ingredients’. Small food companies are allowed to back this up with more information to reassure the consumer.

    Thank you and happy new year

    Gemma

  11. trish says:

    hi, great blog!
    do you know if there are brands of sultanas which are from a nut free factory?
    many thanks
    trish.

  12. Rhona says:

    Hello! I usually use Dr Oetker ready to roll icing to decorate birthday cakes but Tesco didn’t have any today – can I use Tesco’s own brand ready ice?

    Thank you!

  13. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Rhona,

    You don’t say what diet you are making the cake for?

    The allergy information says ‘may contain nuts’. Ingredients change all the time. I would phone their customer careline, their number should be on the packet.

    Thanks, Gemma

  14. Emma Lockett says:

    Hi Gemma,

    I just wanted to say thank you for putting together such an informative blog/article – it is now bookmarked and on my home screen of my iPad.

    Many thanks,
    Emma x

  15. Rosemary says:

    Is Dr Oetkers Regal ice Gluten free?

  16. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Rosemary, yes it is but always check the packaging before using

  17. Tracey Murray says:

    I have been reading you blog and it’s so informative but I was wondering if you could help me with something. I am making my sons birthday cake and wanted to make one of the sponge layers red but I have just read on your blog that E122 is not good but can you advise me if there is a particular amount that can do this. I would be using no more than one gram but probably much less but I can’t seem to find anywhere if it is just the slightest amount that can cause any side effects. I know it’s in calpol and other items but at this time I’m at a dead end. Can you help?

    Many Thanks
    Tracey

  18. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Tracey,

    It’s a tricky one. I think it depends on how you feel about using food colouring. You can get natural red food colouring. My friend has given me some powdered beetroot which I keep meaning to try using in a red velvet cake. You can get this online.

    Thanks,
    Gemma

  19. Gareth says:

    Wow! Awesome information, this has helped me immeasurably. We’re vegan and I’ve got a birthday cake to ice for the weekend for a 4 year old! Many many thanks!

    G

  20. farzana pathan says:

    I love that you talk about gluten and vegan diets but I would like to know if the colour’s red and orange r suitable for halal diets as I can not find out to much about these ingredients as e120 e160 so on if you can help me clear up this issue I would be very grate ful. Farzana

  21. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Farzana,

    There seems to be conflicting advice whether E120 is Halal. I have found many red food colourings do not contain E120 anymore but a vegetarian alternative.

  22. Siobhan says:

    Hi I have just come across your website and thank you thank you thank you.

    I have two children with allergies and my eldest son Oliver is allergic to nuts, eggs, soya (including lethacins), all bovine products (including gelatine), dairy, legumes. I am pretty ok with main ingredients but have recently started to struggle with colourings. I recently bought a set of wiltons and despite website listing as gluten free the manufacturer’s own label started possible NUT contamination due to site of manufacturer. Since my son has anaphalaxis this isn’t something we can risk so I planned to use sugarflair but I am unsure about the possibility of bovine gelatin. Can you help on this issue?

  23. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Siobhan,

    sugarflair colours are suitable for vegans so do not contain any gelatine. The company are really helpful if you want to give them a ring.

    Gemma

  24. Megan says:

    Hi there,

    just wanted to ask if this was still up to date as it was written in 2012. I have to do a cake for a little boy with dairy and nut allergies, and would like to use covapaste.

    Thanks so much!
    x

  25. Iced Gem says:

    Hi there,
    product ingredients can change at anytime so you should check the label of any product you use.

  26. jenni says:

    Hi,
    I make cakes and have been asked to make a gluten free birthday cake. Can anyone recommend a good gluten free sponge cake recipe?

  27. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Jenni,

    Try this one. For an 8 inch round use 300g instead of the 250g in the recipe.

    Gemma

  28. CakePic says:

    Gemma,

    I just found this blog and I love it! I have been doing some research for my nephew who has a dairy intolerance. His birthday is coming up and his mom was needing some products she can use on his cake that will work for him. Thank you for the information you have provided and I will be passing it on to her! I have been asked questions regarding this topic several times and I was wondering if I could share this post on my CakePic Facebook page for my readers?
    Thank you again for this post!

    Sarah from the CakePic team!

  29. Iced Gem says:

    Thank you Sarah, I’m pleased you found it useful. Yes please share on your Facebook page.

    Thanks, Gemma

  30. Chris Down says:

    I just thought I should point out that Dr Oetker Regal-Ice now sates that it may contain traces of nuts and you list still show it as nut free.

    see link:
    http://www.oetker.co.uk/uk-en/our-products/home-baking/icings-marzipan/product-range/regal-ice/regal-ice-ready-to-roll-coloured-icing.html

    I realise it can be very difficult to track status changes on all products, hence the reason for bringing it to your attention.

    Chris

  31. Iced Gem says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for letting me know. I will change that now.

    Best wishes,

    Gemma

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