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Best Practices to Avoid Gluten Free Contamination (Coeliacs We Got Your BACK!)
As a Coeliac living in the UK, there will undoubtedly be many scenarios that might expose you to Gluten.
At home, or at your workplace- Manna Dew has outlined the most important and recommended safety procedures so you’re always safe, and so that you can still take part in all those quality meals your friends and family will be inviting you to.
Being a Coeliac means that small amounts of ingested gluten can create significant digestive discomfort, and it means being mindful throughout the journey everyone takes to prepare food.
All ingredients need to be gluten-free. All utensils and equipment involved in cooking those ingredients need to be. Coeliac UK recommends having utensils dedicated for Gluten-Free foods and cooking. This includes but is not limited to:
Utensils for Cooking
Utensils for Eating
Plates, Glasses, and Mugs
Boiling (Water and Pot)
Don’t boil your food in the same water as a pasta that contains gluten. Water should be discarded and pot needs to be scrubbed clean of any contaminants before it is suitable for your use. Follow Coeliac UK’s guideline and dedicate your pan just for gluten-free foods – it is safer!
Fry your gluten-free foods separately. Don’t use the same oil or pot that handled anything with gluten in them. It will contaminate your food, the gluten in a batter, or in breadcrumbs will fall into the oil and latch onto your gluten-free goodies making them unsuitable for you. Keep your cooking utensils and ingredients as separate as possible.
All it takes is a single crumb. Buy your own toaster and make sure nothing with gluten is toasted in it. This is such a common source of contamination that you simply need your own.
Grill/ Griddle (Oven)
It is recommended that you also have your own dedicated space in your oven or griddle if this is possible. It is best not to apply marinades or sauces onto the meats in the griddle, it should be done before or after to avoid possible contamination.
If you are a lover of marinades get your own dedicated brush and keep it very separate to anything with gluten. It is particularly important because they are hard to clean and anything can stick to them.
When baking your gluten-free goodies, note that one of the most common sources of contamination is in crumbs. If you have a doubt about your oven containing any crumbs with gluten of any kind, cover your item when its baking. There are many ways to do this including shielding it with baking trays or covering well with parchment paper.
Finally as specialist bakers it is important to inform you that flour is airborne. If a bag of wheat flour is opened in the kitchen it is highly likely that it will contaminate surfaces and air. Research conducted by Coeliac UK demonstrates a minimum requirement of 2m distance to handle prepare meals that are gluten-free, and proper systems need to be in place like air extraction and hygiene surface cleaning procedures to ensure no contamination takes place [Source: Coeliac UK].
Coeliac UK recommended Cleaning for Different Kitchen Equipment
Item Washing technique
Chopping boards Dishwasher or manual washing
Plates, bowls, dishes, cutlery Dishwasher or manual washing
Utensils/other prep equipment Dishwasher or manual washing
Mixers, blenders etc. Disassemble, hand wash in hot water/detergents
Pots and pans Dishwasher or manual washing
Food contact surfaces Wipe with hot water/detergents, rinse, dry
Ovens, grills Scrape, clean with detergents/cleaning chemicals – rinse
Source: Coeliac UK
A Note about Personal Hygiene:
It is critical to have good hygiene practices in place if you are to be able to produce gluten-free foods free of contamination. In fact, this is more important than any part of the process.
Hand washing: Do regularly with soap and hot water to ensure you are free from any contaminants while preparing food.
Dedicated Clothes: Wearing dedicated clothes is a good habit to prevent contaminating foods with gluten, especially if you handle or are around gluten at work or at home.
Eating should be safe first and foremost, then super delicious.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and always be aware of your eating domain. Your kitchen should be your safe haven and these practices will help make your kitchen a nutritious heaven for you and your loved ones! Happy Safe Eating from all of our team!
If there’s something you feel we should add to help Coeliacs stay protected when cooking and handling then please leave comments and we’ll include it in the post.