Cross-contact occurs when a food or surface (utensil, equipment, gloves, towels, etc.) containing an allergen or gluten touches an allergy-/gluten-free food. This contact may be direct (putting croutons which contain wheat and gluten on a salad which is typically free of allergens and gluten), or indirect (hands or utensils carrying food bits, or flour particles in the air).
Tips to Prevent Cross-Contact of Allergens and Gluten:
- Wash all work surfaces, cutting boards, utensils, thermometers, dishes, pots, pans and appliances such as blenders, mixers and slices that may have come into contact with allergy-/gluten-containing foods in soapy water prior to preparing food. If an appliance cannot be properly cleaned. Such as a toaster, then find an alternative method for preparing allergy-/gluten-free foods.
- Do not fry allergy-/gluten-free foods in the same oil that has been used for frying non-allergy-/gluten-free items (i.e., battered items).
- If you have purchased any specialty allergy- or gluten-free items, keep them sealed and in a separate area in your storeroom/cabinet.
- If a surface such as a grill must be used in preparing the meal, then cover an area with aluminum foil before preparing the allergy-/gluten-free food on it.
- Use clean utensils when stirring sauces, flipping meats, cutting foods, etc.