Monday, April 29, 2013

Cross contamination

Cross-contamination is a phenomenon that occurs when a food that does not itself contain any allergens is tainted with an allergen during food preparation, cooking, storage, or serving.

Cross-contamination could occur in these and many other settings:
When food is chopped on a cutting board on which allergens have previously been cut;
When baked goods are baked on a cookie sheet that hasn't been thoroughly washed after baking cookies containing allergens;
When foods are cooked on a grill on which foods marinated with allergens are also grilled;
When spoons on a salad bar are used to serve both allergenic foods and safe foods;
When knives are used to cut allergenic foods and safe foods without washing in between.

Cross contamination is a very huge deal. All restaurant kitchen's are contaminated with gluten unless it is a complete gluten free facility. This is the same with your kitchen. Some people's bodies can handle this little of gluten better than other, but nonetheless the small intestine is still be damaged no matter the amount of gluten which is consumed.

I have always had a struggle with this. I have always lived with other people who do eat gluten and in no way wanted to change their diet or were concerned about my health in the kitchen. Although once I married my husband, I didn't make him go cold turkey on a gluten free diet. But he has a designated counter for his toaster and everything which he prepares that has gluten has to be on this certain counter. I will not do anything with gluten. I don't even make him sandwiches. Maybe it's a little selfish but its my health that I have to deal with.
Everything that I prepare in my kitchen is gluten free. Luckily my husband is very supportive with this and he eats whatever I make. Not to mention he is Lactose and Intolerant. But we make it work!
One day when we get a house I will have a completely gluten free kitchen. Which means no cookies, pretzels, breads, or any other gluten contained product will be allowed in the house. But I made I deal with my husband that if I learn how to bake gluten free baked goods and make them often then he is cool with it. :)
Another thing that within the last year or so has come to my attention is that even if a product is labeled gluten free, it can still be processed in the same machinery as gluten because it is not labelled with the CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE and therefore there is no rule and they can say what they want.
Certified gluten free means that the product has to be tested under 20ppm (parts per million.)

So make sure to read your labels! And look for this one! ^
The 2 main ingredients in products that I have been asked if they are gluten free are modified food starch and Maltodextrin. Yes they are both gluten free UNLESS if the word wheat follows after them. Reading labels is very very important!