In a previous post I discussed how many gluten-free grains and seeds become cross-contaminated by gluten. But this isn't the only concern with cross-contamination for those with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity. Any gluten-free food can become cross-contaminated by gluten and ultimately cause a reaction in a sensitive individual. Sensitive individuals include those with Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity or many of the related conditions and autoimmune diseases.
Not only are refined and factory produced foods in danger of becoming cross-contaminated with gluten, but homemade foods and restaurant prepared foods as well. It is important to remember that although small and seemingly insignificant amounts of gluten may seem harmless to most, these minute amounts may add up enough to cause an immune reaction in a gluten sensitive person. And this immune reaction is known to last up to six months after contact with gluten.
8 Tips For Avoiding Gluten Cross Contamination
- Oils that have been used to deep fry battered foods will contaminate foods like French fries. Use separate oils, and ask the chef when dining out if the same oil is used for battered foods.
- Cutlery, utensils and pots and pans must be thoroughly cleaned before cooking gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.
- Toasters and ovens that have been used for glutenous breads can contaminate gluten-free breads. At home try to keep two separate toasters.
- Grills and barbecues can easily cross-contaminate foods if not properly cleaned. Many sauces used to barbecue have gluten.
- Sifters used for both glutenous and gluten-free flours will cross-contaminate. At home if you use both types of flour, keep separate properly labeled sifters.
- Your mayonnaise, peanut butter jar, jams and jellies are easily contaminated when making sandwiches.
- Glutenous flours have a tendency to stay airborne for some time after use. Cooking in a kitchen shortly after preparing foods with glutenous flours is risky for the sensitive person. Because of this I find it very hard to believe that you can get a truly gluten-free pizza from a pizza restaurant that makes regular pizza as well.
- Any foods not prepared in a gluten-free facility, including your own home, runs the risk of getting cross-contaminated.
If you start to read packages carefully, you will notice that many foods now have statements on their labels that say things like: made on equipment shared with wheat and other allergens; or made in a facility that also processes wheat. These warnings are there because food producers are aware of this issue of cross-contamination. Oats are notoriously cross-contaminated because they are grown next to wheat, packaged and transported on shared equipment. Similarly, distilled alcohols have have shown to have some gluten either by not proper distillation practices, or other cross contamination that occurs in the production line.
If you have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity and you find that your gluten-free diet is not making you better, you may want to consider the possibility of cross-contamination.
When I first embarked on a gluten-free diet I immediately saw an improvement in my symptoms. But as time passed I started to notice those symptoms creeping back. I have since completely eliminated all gluten from my home and will only eat from restaurants that are completely gluten-free. Fortunately for me I do live in a part of California that has such restaurants. I wish we were all so fortunate.
If you have tips of your own you'd like to share, please do so in the comments section below. Information in the nutrition world is constantly changing and evolving. My goal is to evoke awareness and productive dialog between us so that others may suffer less and experience health more.