The information contained in this section has been procured from  the Celiac Disease Foundation and BeyondCeliac.org.

It is all for educational purposes and not intended to be taken as medical advice.

Cross-contact or Cross-contamination?

Cross-contact and  cross-contamination are two terms that are heard frequently within the gluten free community. Sadly, most of the time, we use them wrongly.  There is a very important distinction that separates them and makes each term either applicable to the situation or not when addressing celiacs and those with gluten sensitivities and intolerance.

Cross-contact is what we mistakingly call "cross-contamination".  A very important part of creating a website like this is to inform and educate people about

subjects that are associated with the gluten free community at large. Cooking Blog

Cross-contact or Cross-contamination?

What is cross-contact?

Cross-contact is when a gluten-free food or food product is exposed to a gluten-containing ingredient or food – making it unsafe for people with celiac disease to eat. There are many obvious (and not-so-obvious) sources of cross-contact at home and in restaurants and other foodservice locations. There is even a risk of cross-contact before ingredients make it to the kitchen, such as during the growing, processing, and manufacturing processes.

While it may seem like a challenge to remember and be proactive about all of the possible sources of cross-contact at first, your improved health will make the effort worth it. Read on to better understand some of these sources and what you can do to prevent cross-contact

Source: BeyondCeliac.org

What is cross-contamination?

Cross-contamination is a term that implies that a food has been exposed to bacteria or a microrganism, which could result in a food-borne illness like salmonella. By definition, it can lead foodservice and other industry professionals to believe that if a food is “contaminated” by gluten, they can simply “kill off” the contaminant. However, gluten is a protein (not a type of bacteria) and proteins cannot be “killed off” using heat or disinfecting agents like most bacteria can be.

The term “cross-contact” more accurately reflects that a gluten-containing food cannot come into contact with a gluten-free food. If we speak the same language as chefs and foodservice professionals, we are more likely to have a better experience when dining away from home.

Source: BeyondCeliac.org

What can I do to avoid Cross-contact ?

When preparing gluten-free foods, it is important to avoid cross contact.  Cross-contact occur when foods or ingredients come into contact with gluten, generally through shared utensils or a shared cooking/storage environment. In order for food to be safe for someone with celiac disease, it must not come into contact with food containing gluten.

 

Places where Cross-contact can occur

  • Toasters used for both gluten-free and regular bread

  • Colanders

  • Cutting boards

  • Flour sifters

  • Deep fried foods cooked in oil shared with breaded products

  • Shared containers including improperly washed containers

  • Condiments such as butter, peanut butter, jam, mustard, and mayonnaise may become contaminated when utensils used on gluten-containing food are double-dipped

  • Wheat flour can stay airborne for many hours in a bakery (or at home) and contaminate exposed preparation surfaces and utensils or uncovered gluten-free products

  • Oats – cross-contact can occur in the field when oats are grown side-by-side with wheat, select only oats specifically labeled gluten-free

  • Pizza – pizzerias that offer gluten-free crusts sometimes do not control for cross-contact with their wheat-based doughs

  • French fries

  • Non-certified baked goods e.g., “gluten-free” goods from otherwise gluten-containing bakeries

  • Bulk bins at grocery stores or co-ops

 

Easily contaminated foods

  • Oats – look for oats that are specifically labeled gluten-free

  • Pizza – pizzerias that offer gluten-free crusts sometimes do not control for cross-contact with their wheat-based doughs

  • French fries

  • Non-certified baked goods – e.g., “gluten-free” goods from otherwise gluten-containing bakeries

Sources: Celiac Disease Foundation 

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