Searing Sword Of Schmutz Taints Aunt Millie's Bread Loaf

UPDATE: Aunt Millie’s Searing Sword Of Schmutz Is Really Just “Food Grade Oil”

Reader Christina wants to know why there’s black schmutz all over her Aunt Mille’s homestyle seeded Italian bread.

She writes:

On Wednesday I went to Meijer to purchase bread. I purchased Aunt Millie’s (Home style seeded Italian) because they were out of my regular brand (why the heck not its HFCS free) When I got home I wanted to make myself a sandwich,but to my surprise I found some mystery black stuff on my bread in diagonal slashes. At first I thought is was mold but looks more like residue stuff from some machinery.

We’d take the high fructose corn syrup over the bread-staining industrial gunk. Can anyone identify the mystery marks?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Nicholas_schaulsohn says:

    looks like someone at the bakery ran out of toilet paper.

  2. Angryrider says:

    It really does look like someone or something sliced into the bread while it was baking.

  3. Dominikanfrank says:

    Hey, atleast shes not blaming the retailer like a lot of idiots would…

    But no I dont know what it is, but go to the store and ASK POLITELY for an exchange, then call the company of Aunt Millie’s and demand an explanation.

  4. Dominikanfrank says:

    oh… and what I find the oddest is that it is inside the loaf in perfect lines. If it was the cutting machine wouldn’t it have been smudged all the way down?

  5. mgy says:

    Stuart Little is driving a really tiny motorcycle over your bread at night.

  6. Jupiter Jones says:

    A cutting blade for bread wouldn’t just chop straight down, it would move in a regular back and forth motion while cutting, which would probably cause those lines. If it just chopped straight down, the bread would be crushed. But who knows, I’m no industrial baker.

  7. weakdome says:

    marble rye?

  8. RoboSheep says:

    Using my bakery work experience here: The bread twisted on the slicer so it was fixed in position and the friction of the blades in one spot burnt the bread.

  9. thalia says:

    Looks like someone greased up the blades of the bread-slicer machine and didn’t clean it very well. Either that or they are burn spots…I’m not a baker, but I have used saw blades to cut strips of wood and the friction can sometimes cause a few burn spots on each piece.

  10. Sidecutter says:

    Definitely looks like char marks from something, probably the cutter being overly hot due to being dull or something of the sort. Can’t find any other way to explain why it;s on every single piece exactly the same way.

  11. LordieLordie says:

    its flavor man!

  12. P_Smith says:

    From the looks of the picture, the black is *on* the bread, rather than *in* the bread. If it were, say, remnants of a different batch of food mixed in by accident.

    This, however, looks like the slicing of a blade. I don’t claim to be an expert and have never worked in a bakery, but loaves are put into automatic slicers “diagonally” with one corner down to let gravity do the work, rather than needing three sides around the bread.

  13. Moisgreat says:

    Why does it always have to be Black lines. Maybe the rest of the bread is screwed up. Did you ever think of that?

  14. S3CT says:

    And cue all the bread slicing engineer know it alls. :D

  15. Ghede says:

    If something had cut into the bread while it was baking, the crust would be disturbed or similarly discolored.

    Definitely the slicing machine. I’d say it was oil, but I’m pretty sure machines aren’t cartoony enough to use crude oil as a lubricant. I don’t know what that is.

  16. suncoast.katie says:

    I worked at a supermarket bakery on LI when I was 17 and would have to slice up the round rye breads before closing at night. Well, the whole building was overrun with mice and one of them must have scampered across the slicing machine to get at one of the loaves. You can imagine what I found after the machine stopped. I called the manager over the intercom–half hysterical–and he told me he would take care of it. I left for the night. The next day that machine was still in use! Not saying the black marks are anything um…organic in nature… but eeewwww… not a memory I wanted to dredge up from the mists of time.

  17. thesabre says:

    @Sidecutter: Well, that’s not too bad. It’s already toasted. I’m surprised they didn’t charge extra for this pre-toasted convenience.

  18. Lambasted says:

    All I want to know is, “Did you eat it?”

  19. mgy says:

    @suncoast.katie: Now that you mention it, it kind of looks like the charcoal-ish stuff left behind after you squish a spider.

  20. AlCzervic says:

    That appears to be oil from the blades of the slicer.

    The slicers used in industrial bakeries are like bandsaws with 20 blades. When a loaf goes through the slicer, it is pushed by the loaf behind it, so if the conveyor stops while a loaf is in the slicer, that loaf will spend some time with the blades just spinning against the bread. Most likely, the blades had just been changed and the protective oil covering had not yet been cleaned off. When I worked at a bakery, it would be standard practice to discard the first twenty or so loaves that pass through a new set of blades.

    The blades are diagonal so that the crumbs can fall down into a collection trough and not onto the lower roller of the slicer.

  21. agb2000 says:

    @AlCzervic: Wow.

  22. karmaghost says:

    The cutting is about 3/4 of the way through.


  23. macfoo says:

    Like burnt toast? — give it that treatment and you’ll never know :)

  24. Parting says:

    @mgy: How big is the spider then?

  25. What not give the baker (Aunt Millie’s) a chance to correct the situation before posting the complaint on this website.

    It is obviously a defect from the cutting blades. The pictures are great, so give the manufacturer a chance.

    Now, if Aunt Millie takes a powder on this issue, by all means let’s dump all over the company.

  26. Joe S Chmo says:

    What did it taste like?

  27. feralparakeet says:

    Did you call the customer service number on the bag of bread before you emailed the consumerist? It really looks like it was just some stuff on the cutting blade. It happens. Get a coupon for a couple of free loaves and move on.

  28. Landru says:


    By all means, don’t tell anybody when something goes wrong. Just let the companies sweep it under the rug. Or into the bread slicing machine, if you will.

  29. ByeBye says:

    This guy should taste it. Don’t you know it’s recommended that you have at least 10g of oil in your daily diet…

  30. juniper says:

    The company will probably want to know the batch number and other relevant info from the packaging, so they can check the machine. It would be a good idea to call.

  31. hapless says:

    It’s almost certainly a food safe lubricant. I would be pissed about this, yes, but it’s a cosmetic issue, surely not a threat to your health.

  32. theRIAA says:

    i’m betting burn marks. the bread companies use a bunch of band saws hooked together to cut loafs, the saws must have just stopped in mid cut for some reason (someones finger in the way?, and it wasn’t taken out of QQ because there were more pressing issues?)

  33. krom says:

    If those were lines of char from burning the bread, wouldn’t the *black* char be surrounded by a hint of browning?

    Bread gets tan, then brown, before getting black.

    Either something accidentally mixed into the loaf or some stubborn gunk on the cutter.

  34. @Landru:

    I am not giving a free pass to the manuafacturer, I am suggesting giving the manufacturer a chance to fix the problem before we jump on the manufacturer for farking up.

    IF the OP gets free bread for life, the manufacturer has done an excellent job of fixing the problem. IF the OP gets a couple free loaves, the manufacturer has done a pretty good job of fixing the problem. IF the manufacturer says “fark you”, then by all means let’s burn them at the stake.

  35. DamThatRiver says:

    @hapless: Food safe lubricant or not, those gross black marks tell me “DO NOT EAT THIS.”

  36. MercuryPDX says:

    @Corporate-Shill: I second that, and offer up the following previous article for proof it works:


  37. HungryGrrl says:

    I agree, people seem to be missing the point of this blog (including the weekend moderators.) This isn’t a ‘product complaint’ blog. It’s a CUSTOMER SERVICE blog. If you haven’t taken your problem to the customer service step yet, it doesn’t belong here.

    Shame on the submitter, and shame on Carey.

  38. meeroom says:

    Hungry Grrl, pardon my rudeness, but since when do you decide what Consumerist is supposed to be? I enjoy all these posts, I think they are entertaining. Obviously the point of this blog is to be whatever Ben and his team think it should be. If you don’t like a post then don’t read it. But some of us are bored at work and want lots of posts on Consumerist!

  39. says:

    @weakdome: hahahaha!

  40. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    This isn’t a ‘product complaint’ blog…If you haven’t taken your problem to the customer service step yet, it doesn’t belong here.

    @HungryGrrl: Since when? I don’t recall ever seeing a requirement from the Consumerist that we can only complain about the customer service. If the site is about empowering the consumer then doesn’t it make sense to cover all consumer issues? Product complaints aren’t exactly new to the site.

  41. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @DamThatRiver: I agree. Unless you’re constipated ingesting even a safe lubricant can’t be a good idea.

  42. Bye says:

    @HungryGrrl: SHAME!!!! SHAAAAME!

    Now, WTF?!?

  43. mariospants says:

    How many times do we have to keep repeating it, people? OPEN and check your damn purchases BEFORE you LEAVE the store. Preferrably when you are in the checkout line. You don’t want to leave with a something that doesn’t belong there, like a hard drive in a loaf of bread, do you?

  44. picardia says:

    @mariospants: Please tell me you’re kidding. Who opens all their groceries in the grocery checkout line? Wouldn’t that be incredibly unhygenic?

  45. Sian says:

    @mariospants: okay, go ahead. I’ll be laughing when they have you removed from the store for acting like an escaped mental patient, opening and going through all your bread and cereal before leaving the checkout line.

  46. stuny says:

    Seat Belts for Bread?

  47. BlackFlag55 says:

    Skid Marks?

  48. a_brown-eyed_grrl says:

    I don’t know what that is, but I’m glad I started making my own bread last week. One shouldn’t have to speculate about black marks on newly-purchased bread. Ew.

  49. Seacub says:


  50. dgw671 says:

    Here’s the scoop! When manufacturing baked goods in a mass production environment, every item is checked for deformations. Deformations in this case could be too many holes, low bake height, or, believe it or not, a color of bread that may not be appealing to the consumer. When the vision system on the production line see’s this abnormality, it will signal the machine to mark it and further down the line, reject it. The marking on food is completely safe for consumption (just in case it gets missed down the line). In this case, it looks as if the “reject system” (usually pneumatic) was not working correctly. It did not kick off the product.

    Although, I feel the product would be safe to eat, let’s face it… it was rejected for some reason. Good idea would be to take it back to the store and get a nice, clean, loaf of bread without that cool racing strip!!!!

  51. Mr. Gunn says:

    but did you eat it?

    /HFCS? Don’t worry about it! sugar is sugar, sucrose is sucrose, fructose is fructose.

  52. joebobfunguy says:

    skidoosh- kung fu panda