Anyone with coeliac disease or another kind of food allergy will be very familiar with the words ‘cross contamination’ and that’s because it truly is such a problem.
Avoiding the foods that contain ingredients you can’t eat is one of the easier parts of having a food allergy, avoiding cross contamination problems however is far harder.
Cross contamination occurs in the preparation, cooking and serving of your food and is when although you food doesn’t contain the ingredients you can’t eat, it ends up getting mixed or crossed with those ingredients and therefore contains traces of these ingredients and is no longer free from or safe to consume but you’re unlikely to know this as the contamination is rarely visible.
Cross contamination causes people with food allergies so many reactions and although it’s kind of out of our control when we eat out, there’s some measures you can put in place at home to avoid causing yourself any problems!
Separate Butter to Gluten Eaters
If you live in a house with people who eat gluten, you need to have a separate butter/spread for your food.
If you look in the butter or spread in your fridge, it’ll be covered in crumbs and if these are gluten crumbs, that’s a huge cross contamination problem but it’s so easy to avoid.
Having a designated gluten free butter/spread that is just used for GF toast/crumpets/pancakes or whatever else ensures any crumbs in it are safe for you and it’s best to use this spread if making anything containing butter/spread for the whole family!
This could apply for anything you put a spoon or knife in and then directly apply to bread such as mayonnaise.
Designated Chopping Board
You may think this sounds a little over the top but if you don’t want to spend your life wiping the kitchen sides and disinfecting chopping boards, just get yourself a chopping/bread board that is just for gluten free products.
By doing this you know it hasn’t been in contact with anything that could have gluten in it and it just gives you peace of mind.
Separate Toaster/Side of the Toaster
One important thing to do to avoid cross contamination if you live in a house where people eat gluten is to either have your own Toaster for GF products, have a designated side/slot of the Toaster that is just for GF or use the paper toaster bags.
Toasters are filled with crumbs and if these are regular gluten crumbs, that could cause a real cross contamination problem, so you need to ensure you’re always toasting your GF products in an area or a way that ensure it can’t come into contact with gluten.
Separate Cooking Space for Pasta
You don’t need a separate pan and colander for gluten free pasta as long as everything is washed and clean before use but if you’re cooking gluten free and regular pasta at the same time, it’s essential you keep them very separate.
It’s obvious to cook the two different pastas in separate pans but when it comes to draining the water away in a colander, you either need to drain the GF pasta first so the colander is clean or thoroughly wash the colander after draining the regular pasta to ensure it is free of any contamination before coming into contact with your gluten free pasta!
Store Regular Flour Away From Gluten Free Products
Flour is a real nightmare, it literally goes everywhere, no matter how sealed the packet is, so storing it well away from any gluten free products is just a good way to avoid any potential cross contamination issues.
This is an easy one to do, just simply store all your gluten free products in a different cupboard/area to your regular flour and the problem has been resolved!
Cover the Grill Tray Before Using
Although it’s unlikely you’ll pick up crumbs or contamination from normal bread when using your grill tray, covering it with some foil just helps avoid any unnecessary problems.
Crumbs can get everywhere and sometimes you won’t even be able to see them, so they could still be on the grill tray from a previous use, so covering up is the easiest way to keep yourself safe!
It may sound a little over the top but all these small and easy things can save you a lot of pain and trouble, especially if you really struggle when coming into contact with gluten.
I hope you’ve found this useful if you’re just starting out or if you’re trying to become even stricter with avoiding gluten.
Do you have any tips for avoiding cross contamination at home? Let me know in the comments or on my Instagram, @glutenfreewithellie