Preventing Cross-Contamination in Kitchens

By now, anyone who has celiac disease knows that gluten can be hard to avoid at times; not only is it a part of common wheat products, but its also prevalent in a lot of processed foods that you would otherwise think wouldn’t contain gluten. But the threat of cross-contamination is something that not as many people are aware of, especially the folks out there who don’t have celiac disease, making this a big issue when celiac and non-celiac people are using the same kitchen. As someone who lives with five people who eat "normal" gluten-containing food I am very aware of what it take to prevent gluten exposure. So I’d like to pass along a few simple ways that will hopefully keep everyone healthy and happy when there’s gluten in the kitchen.

You Can Never Keep Things Too Clean
Cleaning your kitchen early and often, especially countertops, utensils and other forms of dinnerware, is the best way of making sure that no crumbs or other glutinous food fragments are left lying around. It goes without saying the longer that excess crumbs build in your kitchen, the greater the risk of cross-contamination. Using products such as a crumb-catching cutting board can greatly reduce the risk of this occurring but the most fail proof method is the most basic one- cleaning frequently!

Gotta Keep ‘em Separated
The best way to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs during the cooking process is to use separate kitchen utensils for gluten and gluten-free foods. This is especially practical for some items, such as toasters, pans, and cutting boards, that frequently come into contact with any type of baked good, since this is the most obvious source of cross-contamination. Buying two of each of these items can be costlier, but it is the only way to make sure that all gluten-free dishes aren’t at risk of exposure.
It might also be a good idea to purchase separate containers for condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, jam, and peanut butter that are prone to contamination through bread crumbs.

Labeling and Separating
Someone with gluten intolerance will certainly be eating some foods that are different, and if you follow the last point, they will also be using or eating from different utensils and using different types of cookware. This makes labeling and separating very important, as you want to make sure that none of the gluten-free products are used accidentally. This is especially true if you happen to live with a child.

These tips should hopefully help in keeping a celiac household safe and well-fed. The best form of cross-contamination prevention is education. Keeping non-gluten intolerant housemates educated about celiac disease and how to live with people who have it is the best way to maintain a healthy kitchen



Anonymous said...

As a restaurant manager, I find that story appalling. I am in a position where I have to be sure I'm serving people safe food, no matter their dietary needs. In this day and age, so many people have allergies and sensitivities to foods of all sorts. If I am unsure as to whether or not the item is safe, I do not serve it, but I most assuredly up to date on the basics of these allergies. It also helps that I'm the one that designed the gluten-free menu for my company. I take it pretty seriously, and get pretty upset when others around me do not. I'm glad you took the time to talk to the management about it, they need to realize how serious it is.

simplygfree said...

I found a site that helps prevent cross contamination in your kitchen. Check out

They have a kitchen kit that helps identify gluten free pots and pans in your kitchen.