Living Gluten Free: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, it is likely you’re still adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle. It may seem overwhelming at first to a celiac patient to begin the gluten-free road to recovery, as there are many challenges to face in adjusting to your new gluten-free diet. One of these challenges is avoiding gluten that can get in your food through cross-contamination.

It’s important to realize that any food processed on equipment shared with gluten is at risk to have at least some degree of contamination. In order for a product to be truly gluten-free, special handling is required at each step of the process—the growing, harvesting, milling, and processing of non-gluten grains. Shared equipment results in gluten contamination in the field, a manufacturing facility, a restaurant, or a home kitchen.

Although cross-contamination is an issue in the home, celiac people adopt home cooking for their gluten-free diet.  This takes the uncertainty out, as you’ll have much more control over the ingredients and the food preparation. I recommend using fresh foods and foods that are minimally processed in a gluten-free environment.

Starches can be useful in frying and baking, such as cornstarch, potato starch and tapioca starch, as they have been processed to remove the protein. There may still be a small amount of residual protein, most of which would be from, for example, the corn, potato or tapioca used to make the starch, but not from contaminating wheat. Wheat starch is not safe, however. You can find a cookbook that uses starches only to get some recipe ideas. Also Chebe Bread is an excellent line of bread mixes made with tapioca starch. If you have the time, consider milling your own flour. This will allow you to inspect and wash the whole grains, which significantly cuts down your chance of contamination in flours.

Make sure you are familiar with cross-contamination and how to avoid it to ensure that you’re eating a truly gluten-free diet!

Article Courtesy: G-Free Advocate Tina Turbin

6 thoughts on “Living Gluten Free: Avoiding Cross-Contamination

  1. Hey G-Free Foodie,

    This is a great posting, it is so important that people understand how cross-contamination can be dangerous to those with Celiac. All Kinnikinnick foods are made with dedicated machinery which only deals with GF ingredients. We also wrote a blog on this topic, "Helping Find the Hidden Gluten That's All Around Us" which you and your readers may find helpful. http://blog.kinnikinnick.com/2010/06/helping-find-hidden-gluten-thats-all.html. I look forward to following your blog!

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