One of my very first posts on my blog was about cross contamination. This is an add-on and update to my post. Enjoy!
Cross contamination is everywhere. Each time you leave the house, someone that has recently touched gluten will have touched something you are currently touching or are about to touch – door knobs, buttons on the card machines, grocery store carts, seats, computer keyboards, everything. All of it. Washing hands with soap and water before cooking or preparing food is the #1 way to prevent this from causing an issue.
A recent study suggested that using a common toaster, cooking gluten free pasta in pasta water previously used to cook pasta, or using a knife that was previously used to cut a cake are all safe. Each scenario tested to below 20ppm for gluten. I’m not 100% sure I’m on board with these, but it does make me a little less worried about cross contamination. I would say though, if you can avoid the above scenarios, do so just to be on the safe side.
There are a couple of other scenarios I see talked about often – non-stick pans, separate plates for gluten and gluten free food, kissing someone that has recently consumed gluten, or simply having prepackaged gluten foods next to prepackaged gluten free foods.
The non-stick pans and separate plates issue – if you can replace the non-stick pans, great. If not, run the pans and dishes through the dishwasher and it will be fine.
Kissing someone who recently consumed gluten, I think you are okay on this one, too, especially if they have a glass of water or other gluten free beverage before engaging in a lip lock! As a side note, I would not let this disease get in the way of a passionate kiss, EVER! But that’s just my bias.
If a package of gluten free food is in a sealed container and the seal is not broken, the food in the package is still gluten free.
I saw a recent post about a college student wanting to take Lysol wipes into class to wipe down desks before she sat down for fear that someone before her might have been eating a gluten snack at the same desk. My answer was first, are you going to be eating off the desk and second, are you going to be able to wash your hands before the next meal. If the answer to the first question is yes, then yeah, take wipes and wipe everything down. But why the heck are you eating directly off a desk in a strange place and maybe you need to rethink your eating habits. If the answer to the second question is yes, then no you don’t need wipes. A good hand washing should be sufficient to protect you from any incidental cross contamination picked up in the outside world.
We have to live and the world is covered in gluten. Cross contamination is a serious issue in the celiac community that has to be monitored and minimized. At the same time, we cannot let the disease or fear of cross contamination rule our lives. We cannot be afraid to go out or to do anything for fear of getting sick. There is a balance. My balance may look different from your balance, but we have to find a way to get to a place where we feel comfortable living our lives without being in constant fear. What I might see as acceptable risk, someone else may not and that is fine. My whole point is that you have to find a way to be comfortable and not make your life feel like living in a gluten free jail.
Balance and the ability to live a full gluten free live with few restrictions is the entire point of my blog – in addition to providing information about celiac drugs and new studies talking about celiac.