How to Avoid Cross-Contamination
1. For households with wheat allergy or celiac disease, purchase a separate toaster for gluten-free bread. “If you use the same toaster for both gluten-filled and gluten-free bread, you are at a great risk for contamination,” warns Kim Maes. Both Maes and Cybele Pascal recommend a separate toaster for gluten-free bread; if you don’t have the space or budget, Maes notes that the safest alternative is to place gluten-free bread on a piece of foil during toasting to avoid contact with gluten particles.
2. Time and prepare your meals so that the allergic person’s food is completed first. “Prepare the food-allergic person’s food first, and then cover it and set it aside to be sure nothing migrates into it. Serve the food-allergic person first to avoid cross-contamination from serving utensils,” says Pascal.
3. Educate the whole family on sanitation best practices. If you choose to have food allergens in your home, make sure your whole household remains vigilant on keeping “safe” items free of allergens. “If you have an egg allergy and someone dips his or her knife into the mayonnaise and then follows it up by dipping into the mustard, the mustard has now been contaminated with egg particles for any future uses,” warns Maes. The same goes for making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spreading jam on a piece of toast, or using any other condiment in the kitchen. “These minute amounts might seem insignificant; however, for someone with a life-threatening food allergy, they could spell disaster.”