Here are some of the basic do’s and don’ts to prevent gluten cross contamination when dealing with this whole gluten challenge – especially if you are new to it. Even the tiniest amount of breadcrumbs, for example, may cause you to experience symptoms very soon after and damage to your gut down the road.
Let’s take a look at what you need to be aware of. Some things might surprise you.
Prevent Gluten Cross Contamination
Clean your pots and pans with soapy water, or better still put them in the dishwasher. Ordinary washing up liquids will prevent contamination, so there is no need to use separate plates, dishes or utensils after being appropriately washed.
Wipe down surfaces when preparing food to prevent cross-contamination.
Double-dipping? Be careful if you are dipping gluten-free chips or crisps into dips (which may, in themselves, be gluten-free), but others may contaminate the dip with their chips and crisps containing gluten. So get your own dip.
The same goes for when you spread mayo etc., and someone is using a knife or spoon that they have spread the sauce onto ordinary bread or toast. The mayo becomes contaminated. It is best to use a squeezy bottle, so there is no chance of cross-contamination.
Clean your hands when handling gluten and gluten-free foods. In fact, clean your hands when handling any food! Like duh…but this item means that touching food containing gluten then you touch gluten-free food clearly causes contamination.
Washing up liquids are OK to use, and using a good dishwasher will remove gluten. You do not need to use separate cloths or sponges.
You may want to get different breadboards to keep gluten-free and regular bread separate. The same goes for wooden utensils, as these can harbour some residual gluten, and bacteria too.
Use a separate toaster. This may seem drastic, but it is crucial. If this is not possible, use toaster bags (these are obtainable online).
Make sure to label any food in your fridge or cupboard that is yours. Obviously, it would be best to store them on a different shelf, specifically for your food.
If you use a colander, it makes sense to get a different coloured one solely for your use.
Buy grains etc., that are CERTIFIED gluten-free. Many products are marked as gluten-free but may be packaged in the same place or prepared in the same machine as gluten products. The same goes with flour etc.
Be careful when buying imported food products. Other countries don’t follow stringent guidelines with regard to the preparation of food.
Use clean oil or a separate fryer for frying gluten-free foods. For example, potato products such as french fries are obviously gluten-free, but if you fry them in oil that other foodstuffs have been fried in, bang goes the ‘gluten-free’ element.
Use different butter knives or dishes and jam spoons to prevent breadcrumbs from getting into condiments.
Here is something that you may not have thought about. Let’s say you grab a burger with the intention of throwing away the bun it is wrapped in and just eating the meat and other bits. But, unfortunately, the burger has been contaminated, so that is a no-no.
Eating out is a bit of a nightmare – unless you can find an eatery that solely does gluten-free food. No matter how hard some may try, many restaurants, pubs and cafes don’t have different cooking surfaces, different utensils, fryers, etc. As for personal hygiene – that is enough to put you off getting a takeaway or ordering a gluten-free meal.
How many staff in a busy kitchen have time to change their disposable gloves between cooking your meal and other meals? How many times would they inadvertently pick up a knife or spoon used for one meal and use it on yours? If they do realise the error of their ways halfway through preparing the different meals, will they stop and throw your contaminated food away and start all over again?
It shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a meal out, but do your homework first and save yourself a lot of problems.
Hopefully, you are not overwhelmed by all of this. However, the main challenge will come from other members of the household, who may not understand the absolute importance of following these rules.
So, instead of getting frustrated or on your high horse, tactfully explain to them what it means to be doubled up in agony because someone didn’t know or understand how damaging this disease can be or didn’t really care about being extremely careful not to cross-contaminate the things that you eat, with what they eat.
Stay with us for more tips, recipes, and info on GlutenFreeLiving.co.uk.
For more information or assistance with this article, or if you want to add something that you feel is relevant, we would love to hear from you via the Contact Us page.