At GF Bakers, we’re proud to offer a huge variety of gluten-free desserts and other products, both for those with Celiac Disease and those who simply prefer to cut gluten out of their diet. Mrs. Hewitt’s incredible wholesale gluten-free products have helped numerous individuals change their lifestyle for the better, made with only the best and safest ingredients and certified gluten-free.
For those making this transition, particularly those with Celiac Disease who live with or spend significant time with those who are not gluten-free, avoiding contact and contamination issues with gluten products is very important. In this two-part blog series, we’ll dig into several basics to be aware of here, from the broad importance of being safe with food contact to some tips we offer on how to accomplish this on a daily basis within your home.
Gluten and Celiac Disease
For starters, it’s important to educate yourself on the simple relationship between gluten and those who have Celiac Disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, one that will cause significant illness and even mortal threats to many people with gluten intolerances, who often cannot consume or contact even trace amounts of gluten. Damage is often significant, particularly to the small intestine.
With this in mind, if you are someone who has recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease – or if you live or share lots of your time with someone in this position – it’s extremely important to learn about safe ingredients and how to avoid mixing them.
Cross-Contamination vs Cross-Contact
An important distinction experts in this field make is between the term “cross-contamination” and the term “cross-contact.” Technically, the latter refers to a food that’s been exposed to bacteria or some kind of harmful microorganism, issues that often lead to foodborne illness and contamination. This implies, then, that the contamination can be killed.
However, gluten is not a form of bacteria, meaning it can’t be destroyed in the same ways. For this reason, the term “cross-contact” is actually more appropriate when looking to ensure gluten-free individuals are not exposed to even trace amounts of gluten in their food. Cross-contact is the term for exposure of a gluten-free product to a gluten ingredient of some kind, and there can be many sources of cross-contact.
Our next few sections will dig into specific tips on preventing this sort of cross-contact.
Your first and best defense against cross-contact gluten issues is detailed cleaning in the kitchen. Any item that might be even a minor part of food prep or consumption needs to be cleaned thoroughly, including the sponge or rag you use for this cleaning.
For those who live in a home with a non-gluten-free individual, it’s often beneficial to set up a designated gluten zone. Any foods or ingredients with gluten must be restricted to this area, which ideally would be separate from the rest of the kitchen.