Monday, January 28, 2008

Help with Kitchen Cross-Contamination

Tips below were listed on the Gluten-Free Forum website. Since we haven't been able to have detailed discussions about cross-contamination, you may find these ideas informative.

Here are cross-contamination potential issues:
1. Replace toaster/toaster oven. Never use the same toaster/oven that gluten products have been used in.
2. Replace all cutting boards. Old boards may be kept separate for use with gluten foods.
3. Replace wooden or Teflon cooking utensils. Old utensils may be kept separate for use with gluten foods.
4. Replace porous pots/pans/skillets. Teflon and cast iron are porous and retain gluten from past cooking.
5. Replace pans with seams. Past gluten products can easily be retained in the seam.
6.Never wash gluten and gluten-free dishes in the same dish water.
7.Use disposable rags/sponges if your kitchen is not totally gluten-free.
8. Many issues one forgets to look at: can openers colanders pets (food, licking) stamps, envelopes stamp hinges (for collectors) lipstick toothpaste
9. Very important: silver drawer: there are always crumbs there.
10. shared tables, like at work. I frequently sit down to have lunch & find someone else's sandwich crumbs all over.
11. Perhaps remembering to wash your hands before eating finger food. I know our moms always told us to do this, but it's easy to forget. There are so many potential contaminants in the house, especially for those of us with pets or kids, that you might not even realize you've touched something that's potentially dangerous.
12. bulk bins at the grocery: it has one of the most cross-contaminated potential. One has to ask the owners to put some aside when they have a new bag.
13. At school: Gym class was held in the multi-purpose room (lunchroom) where kids had just eaten breakfast. Custodians swept the floor after breakfast, but didn't wash it. My son crawled around on the floor during gym class, wiggled his loose teeth...gluten. Kids met for chess club in the library during lunch, so they ate their lunch in the library. Crumbs on the carpet get on little fingers. Kids eat snacks in the hallways. Crumbs get tracked into the classroom. Five year olds spent a lot of time crawling on the floor. Some brands of play "clay" (ex. Rose Art) contain gluten. Some finger paints also do. Check out all art supplies used in the art room and in the classroom.
14. the conveyor belts at the checkout counters in supermarkets: for ex.: leaking flour bags, etc

  • Don't use the same cloth to wipe both 'gluten' work tops and the 'gluten free' area. Use separate cloth kitchen towels [or disposable ones] for your gluten-free area in kitchen.
  • Rinse off ordinary breadcrumbs or ordinary flour sauce before putting items in dishwasher.
  • Gluten crumbs on the floor [crawling toddlers, pets transfer]
  • Can opener [have a separate one for gluten-free]

Ideas from others: I have color-coded all the gluten-free stuff and have separate drawers and cupboard areas for my pans, cooking utensils, plastic ware, etc. I also have a separate storage area for my pasta, flours, etc. I know that I am lucky to have a kitchen that allows this. I gather that some people just make their entire kitchen gluten-free, and I would like to do that, so I wouldn't always be having to clean the buttons on the microwave and the handle of the refrigerator, but I think they'd really revolt. So I just try to be super-careful, and never lay anything down on a counter without a paper towel or a plate under it, even on the counter that is the gluten-free area.

Information can be found on under the Gluten-Free Forum

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