Prevent gluten cross-contamination

December 28, 2011

Prevent gluten cross-contamination. This is very important in maintaining a healthy gluten-free diet for a celiac disease patient.

When our child Cesar Michael was diagnosed with celiac disease, we just did not have enough information on what it meant “going gluten-free.” It took us a while to get the specifics in taking care of our child the right way.

First, we found out that we could not share the same toaster for gluten-free bread and regular bread. Therefore we purchased an additional toaster, one for the regular breads and another one for our child’s gluten free breads.

Unfortunately, cross-contamination can easily be ignored in establishments that offer gluten free menus unless their personnel have been properly trained.  Here are some commonly mistakes that would cross-contaminate a healthy gluten-free diet:

  • Using the same sifter for gluten-free and regular flour. It is advisable to designate and label one to be used for gluten-free flour.
  • Preparing gluten-free foods on the same surface or cutting boards used for regular gluten foods. If doing so, obviously, the surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Grilling gluten-free foods on the same surface used for gluten food items.  If you are dining out, ask your chef to wipe down the grill before cooking your order.
  • Deep-frying your gluten-free foods in the same oil used to fry gluten breaded foods. This is a NO NO.! A quick tip, if you order a deep fried gluten-free item in a restaurant, ask the chef if they have a separate deep fryer for gluten-free foods. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially if you are travelling.
  • Using the same utensils for both gluten-free and gluten foods. At home, clean the utensils thoroughly whenever you prepare gluten-free foods.  In a restaurant, it is recommended to have separate sets of utensils if you offer a gluten-free menu.
  • Using the same butter knife to spread butter on breads. Do not use the same butter knife to spread butter on gluten-free bread and regular breads. The bread crumbs will stick to the knife therefore it is obvious that there will be cross-contamination.
  • Dipping a spreader into condiment jars. You might not realize that when spreading jellies, cream cheeses, butter or any dips, bread crumbs attaches to the spreader. The crumbs, which contain gluten, will cross-contaminate a gluten-free bead. It is best to have a separate container for a celiac person. Another idea is for a celiac person to always use a clean knife and make sure there are no visible crumbs in the jar.

The key to maintaining a gluten-free diet is to avoid cross-contamination. As you can see, this is a very important step in keeping a celiac patient healthy. Another important step is also to educate your family. At home, my daughter Cecilia, who is 8 years old, is aware of gluten cross-contamination. She makes sure his brother follows a healthy gluten-free diet.

Another great idea is to get a very good book or a gluten-free diet eBook so that could can inform yourself more about coping with celiac disease. 

Video Courtesy of The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.NFCA

5 thoughts on “Prevent gluten cross-contamination

  1. Pingback: Living Healthy with a Gluten-free Diet

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  5. Thank you for your informative articles. Having a friend with Celiac Disease has increased my awareness of the dangers of cross contamination. She ordered a salad one time and was careful to give them instructions, but the salad came with croutons on it. She asked for a new one, and had to emphasize how dangerous it would be for them to just remove the croutons and give her the same salad back.

    Also, the company that I rep for–Shelf Reliance (holly.shlfreliance.com/holly)–has made huge strides this past year in certifying many of their foods to be gluten free. I toured their facility last year and there is a specific Gluten Free area where even the workers must disrobe and change into clean clothes, shoes and hair nets before entering in case they would have any gluten on their clothing.

    I hope your son continues to grow strong and healthy!

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