Anything that gluten comes in contact with can potentially contaminate gluten-free food. When gluten-containing foods are processed, those foods can leave gluten behind on the equipment, particularly dry foods such as cereals and baking mixes. In addition flour and other fine particles can become air born and hang in the air up to 24 hours before settling on surfaces.
When food is prepared in a kitchen that contains gluten, whether at home or restaurant, there is a risk of that food becoming contaminated. It very important for those with celiac disease to pay attention to possible sources for cross contamination.
The easiest way to avoid gluten cross contamination in your kitchen is to bring only gluten-free foods into it. Since that is not always practical, here are a few tips to help prevent gluten cross contamination in your kitchen:
- Designate gluten and gluten-free spaces. This can be areas of the kitchen, cabinets, or shelves in a cabinet.
- Designate gluten and gluten free items. Things like colanders, cutting boards, and cooking utensils can harbor gluten. It might be necessary to keep duplicates of some items.
- Keep labeled gluten-free condiments. Things like mayonnaise, peanut butter, jelly, and butter can become contaminated when you spread them on bread and place the knife back into the food. Keep clearly labeled gluten free condiments on hand.
- Clean thoroughly. Clean out cabinets, surfaces, mixers, and anything else that may have gluten on it. Make sure to wash all cooking pans thoroughly in hot, soapy water before cooking a gluten free meal.
- Buy a new toaster. Toasters can definitely cause cross contamination. Have a gluten free toaster and be sure everyone knows that it is only for gluten-free breads.
I even buy gluten-free dog food for Milo so I don’t get contaminated when I feed him. He doesn’t seem to notice the difference at all.
The key to preventing gluten contamination is to keep things clean and separated. It is important that you train the gluten-eating members in your family to follow these rules so you can stay healthy. It may seem like a big hassle to do all of this, but your health is worth it. Keeping your kitchen gluten-free will become easier with time if you make a routine and stick with it.
You can find more information about how to keep your home gluten-free in “How to be Gluten Free” by Linda Etherton.
Gluten-free dog food is good, but not as good as COOKIES or BONES. Just sayin’.