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Cross Contamination of Food at Home

Updated on September 1, 2010

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.

Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake - From prep to eating no cross contamination occured

It is possible to cook and bake without cross contamination.  It can take careful planning, but is worth it for those with allergies, sensitivities, and an intolerance to certain foods.
It is possible to cook and bake without cross contamination. It can take careful planning, but is worth it for those with allergies, sensitivities, and an intolerance to certain foods.

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    • AdrienneZMilligan profile imageAUTHOR

      AdrienneZMilligan 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      So does my husband. The first time I made him a gluten free German Chocolate Cake...well, he was all smiles! :) It's still his favorite. I don't make it often, but when I do, he enjoys every gluten free bite.

    • AdrienneZMilligan profile imageAUTHOR

      AdrienneZMilligan 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Christy,

      Gluten free is easier for us since we've been eating this way since 2001. I do like helping people that are new to the gluten free lifestyle find their way on a new path of eating and back to good health.

      Adrienne

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Well done Adrienne. I have a friend with celiac disease and these are good tips.

    • AdrienneZMilligan profile imageAUTHOR

      AdrienneZMilligan 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Brian,

      Thanks for the comments. It is amazing how some people "get" cross-contamination and how others just do not.

    • KeithTax profile image

      Keith Schroeder 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin

      I love German chocolate cake.

    • Brian Burton profile image

      Brian Burton 

      6 years ago

      I definitely underestimated this. My wife and I are fortunately allergy free, but if I find myself cooking for anyone that does have them, this article will help me to be more aware of the dangers.

    • AdrienneZMilligan profile imageAUTHOR

      AdrienneZMilligan 

      7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      RTalloni, thanks for you comment! I agree that the number of people that just do not understand cross contamination is a concern.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      7 years ago from the short journey

      1) The cake looks fab.

      2) May I repeat...cross contamination is a big deal. I am amazed at how many people don't even think about this where germs are concerned, much less allergies.

      3) Looking forward to more of your GF hubs.

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