A person suffering from celiac disease will react very unfavorably when gluten ends up in their diet. There are millions suffering from various degrees of gluten intolerance. Avoiding gluten and leading a gluten-free life will solve most of their problems.
However, this is easier said than done.
For starters, there is inconvenience involved. You will need to make sure your food does not contain gluten. You’ll have to read food labels, find gluten-free substitutes, etc. Then there is the problem of giving up many comfort foods that you are used to such as cakes, ice creams, potato chips, etc. These foods may contain wheat based flavoring or fillers.
It’s definitely going to affect many people when they discover that their favorite foods may be off-limits to them because of their gluten intolerance.
There is also the issue of extra hassles involved… and that’s what this article is about. Preventing cross-contamination of foods. Cross-contamination occurs when gluten containing foods end up mixed with gluten-free foods. This can occur and it does occur.
1. Thoroughly wash and clean utensils, bread boards, chopping boards, etc. Anytime one particular object is used for both kinds of foods, the probability of cross-contamination goes up.
For example, a knife that was used to cut some whole wheat bread may still have minuscule crumbs stuck to it. If a gluten intolerant person used that same knife to cut an apple, it would be inevitable to get some crumbs on the apple which they will end up eating.
2. Separate containers should be used by gluten intolerant people. These containers should be sealed and only contain foods that are gluten-free. You can’t share butter, jam, etc. because of the very high probability of someone else contaminating them.
3. Label all foods in your refrigerator. Especially, once they have been removed from their original packaging. It’s very easy to lose track of who is eating what and how the food has been handled. If you live alone, you do not have such problems. However, if you have family members and they are not gluten intolerant, their actions may affect you.
4. Toasters, ovens, grills, etc. should be cleaned thoroughly before using. If a grill has been used to grill some sausages, the wheat based filler in the sausages may still be lingering on the grill. Of course, marinades, flavoring, etc. will also be there and most of them will have wheat based ingredients. Wash them all well before use.
5. Use separate oil for frying. This is one of those things that people forget. They reuse oil and think that it’s harmless. If someone in the family fries a burger patty in oil, there will be breadcrumbs, fillers, etc. that will end up in the oil. There is a very high chance that these contain gluten.
If you then proceed to fry your gluten-free burger patty and think that all is ok, you’re sorely mistaken. The oil already contains gluten products and it will contaminate your food. Use separate oil for your cooking.
These are just 5 ways that cross-contamination may occur.
There are many more ways. So, you will always need to be alert to the possibility of it occurring. In this way, you will be better prepared and reduce any chances of getting gluten in your diet without realizing it.