- Food and Cooking»
- Food Safety»
- Food Allergies
Cross Contamination of Food at Home
From the farm to the table cross contamination does occur
The term cross contamination is gaining popularity as more people become aware of how potentially dangerous and deadly it can be.
When referring to cross contamination in regards to allergies, sensitivities, or intolerance to foods, the term can have a very broad meaning.
Cross contamination of food can literally begin at the farm and can continue to happen right up to when the food is consumed. Cross contamination can occur just about anywhere and with any and all food depending upon numerous circumstances. This hub focuses mainly on the issues surrounding cross contamination as it pertains to gluten free living, but the safe handling of food is applicable no matter what the allergens may be.
For example, for those that must eat gluten free oats are always brought up as to if they are safe. While oats are not a gluten-containing food like wheat, rye, and barley; they are grown in fields where gluten grains have grown. The oats can be harvested, stored, transported, and processed with equipment that has previously been in contact with gluten grains.
Silos, packing plants, and mills all pose cross contamination threats. More and more companies are building their own allergen free facilities or contracting out to such facilities to ensure that cross contamination has less chance of occurring.
Once purchased and brought home, those items that are deemed safely made in the allergen free facility, can become contaminated. Gluten free food that is prepared using the same dishes and utensils as food made with gluten automatically contaminates it. Cooking, baking, as well as preparing food in the same room also causes contamination. If wheat flour has been used in the area before the gluten free food is prepared, it is considered contaminated as the wheat dust particles stay in the air for twenty-four hours after wheat has been used. Preparing the gluten free food first is not enough if the air is not safe. It will still be contaminated.
Once the meal is ready to be served, cross contamination can continue to happen. Sharing the same butter tub, the same dip bowl, mayonnaise jar, peanut butter jar, jellies and jams, and so on are to be considered contaminated as soon as gluten or other allergens that are being avoided come into contact with these foods.
People who ask about cross contamination involving allergens because of serious medical reactions or possibly even death should not be regarded as picky eaters or those who always complain about what's in the food. People with reactions to food must put their health first each and every time they eat or come into contact with food.
Cross contamination is a very big deal. It should not be taken lightly or joked about. There are numerous people that have cross contamination on their radar 24/7.