Cross Contact During SFED
Cross contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food. As a result, each food then contains small amounts of the other food. These amounts are so small that they usually cannot be seen. However, even this small amount can affect people with food allergies. This is also known as cross contamination. Many people find cross contact to be one of the most difficult parts of the diet to manage.
Where does cross contact occur?
Cross contact can occur anywhere foods come together. This can happen in fields, factories, restaurants or even in your own home. Think of removing the bun and eating just the hamburger patty or eating a salad after removing the croutons. While the main culprit has been removed, leftover debris is still present on that patty or salad. Other sources of cross contact include:
- Toaster (even a crumb can affect some people with allergies)
- Toaster oven
- Deep fryer
- Waffle iron
- Cutting board
- Counter tops
- Anything made of porous material such as wooden spoons or a rolling pin
- Shared condiments such as butter/margarine, peanut butter, mayonnaise, jelly/jam or anything else people dip a knife or spoon into
- Shared dish rags or sponges
- Other places food particles may hide including silverware trays, cupboards, shelves and even knife blocks
- Grills that have been used for breaded meats or pancakes
- Deep fryer used for batter fried foods
- Serving spoons at a buffet table or salad bar
- Using the same water for regular pasta and then wheat free pasta
- Airborne allergens in bakeries or pizzerias, or baking pans used for regular pizza
In food processing or production
- In fields, where wheat free grains are grown in fields next to wheat containing grains
- In shipping, where allergen free foods are shipped in the same trucks or train cars as those containing allergens
- In factories, where allergen free foods may be stored or made on the same equipment used for allergen containing foods
What are some steps you can take to protect yourself from cross contact?
- Wash pots, pans, dishes and utensils thoroughly with soapy water or in a dish washer after each use.
- Use separate cutting boards, strainers, colanders, toasters and waffle irons. Some people like to choose a different color to identify the allergen free kitchen tools.
- Prepare the allergy safe foods first.
- Keep the allergen free foods covered and away from other foods that may contain allergens.
- Thoroughly wash counters and tables with soap and water.
- Do not share food, drinks or utensils.
- Have separate containers of butter, mayonnaise, peanut butter and other spreadable condiments. Label the allergen free ones.
- Store allergen free items on the top shelf of your pantry and refrigerator to prevent crumbs from falling into allergen free foods. Have a dedicated shelf for foods.
- Read labels to assure products are free of allergens.
How will you assure your foods are safe from cross contact?