There are two primary instances when cross-contamination can occur when you are handling gluten and allergen-free food.
When the food item is prepared in the same boiling water or frying oil as other foods containing gluten or wheat products.
When food particles or microbes are transferred from one food to another by using a cutting board, pots, pans, cutting knife or other utensils without first washing the tools or surfaces in between uses.
The extreme heat in open flamed grills turns most food particles into carbon. Residual contaminants can be removed by the use of a clean wire brush specially designed for grill racks.
A dedicated fryer and toaster should be used for gluten-free foods to avoid cross-contamination. All materials used in gluten-free food preparation should be washed in hot, soapy water prior to preparation to avoid cross-contamination.
Other areas of possible contamination to beware of during food preparation:
1. unless using gluten free flour, do not dust meats/fish with flour prior to cooking.
Even a small amount of wheat flour will penetrate the food and cause a problem.
2. when baking, cake tins should only be dusted with gluten free flour.
3. beware that a lot of icing sugar mixture contains wheat, so ensure that you buy only
gluten free icing sugar mixture.
To avoid confusion and accidental cross contamination, all gluten free products should be stored separately in individual sealed containers that are clearly marked. Once gluten free products have been removed from their original packaging, they can easily get mixed up with non-gluten free products. For example: gluten free flour could be confused with normal wheat flour. Take the guess work out of the pantry, refrigeration and freezer and label all products.
In the Kitchen
When preparing gluten free food, ensure separate cutting boards, knives and utensils are used. Care must be taken not to contaminate gluten free food with crumbs or particles from gluten containing foods. Crumbs left on a bread board can be enough to make a person with celiac disease have an unwanted reaction.
When entertaining with food platters or dips, it is best to have a dedicated gluten free platter. Placing all food and biscuits on one platter will give celiac guests, piece of mind and confidence in what they are eating.
There is no point going to all the trouble in having a gluten free dip if biscuits that are made from gluten are dipped directly into the dip. The crumbs that are left behind in the dip can be enough to cause a person with celiac disease to have a reaction. It is also recommended to use dip spreaders in all dips so biscuit crumb contamination is reduced.
If you are the person with celiac disease and find yourself at a party and the food/dips, for example, have not been separated, then put a small selection on a personal plate for yourself to consume before the food/dips become mixed with crumbs. Your host will understand the need to keep your food separate.