Maison Cheri

Blog – 1st Feb 2014

Eight (8) tips for Coeliacs to avoid Gluten cross-contamination in the home

If you are a family with more than one celiac, you may choose to go totally Gluten Free (GF) at home. A life with no gluten in my house would be great!

Living on a GF diet as a whole family can, on the other hand, be quite costly, especially if you are on a budget and don’t all need to eat GF food. There are four of us in my household and an all GF home would soon double our food bill.

As a baker by trade, we all often share my baking, but I do not have the time or energy to cook GF for all of us, all of the time. So, we have learnt to share our space; my family have their glutinous food and I live, GF, alongside them.

As a coeliac, keeping gluten out of my diet is extremely important. The long term risks involved with any Gluten cross-contamination are serious and potentially life threatening.

I have developed a system that works really well to avoid cross contamination wherever possible.

(N.B. I cannot guarantee any level of GF living for you and it is up to you how you interpret and use these tips)

Tip 1 – AMBIENT FOOD STORAGE

Let’s begin with dry & ambient temperature food storage. I have my own food cupboard/larder. This contains all my gluten free food plus any other food that is bought in that is gluten free such as rice, pastas, tinned foods, GF sweets or chocolate and all of my baking ingredients.

Any flours or baking ingredients are date ordered, sealed with food bag clips and stored in air tight containers to ensure freedom from cross contamination.

Tip 2 – THE FRIDGE!

Aargh, I hear you say! Sharing food space!

I advise having your own shelf with your own dairy products and any other cold essentials. This should be the top shelf of your fridge as you want to avoid any other food falling onto yours. Make sure everyone knows it yours and yours alone!

(Your fridge should be set at the Food Standards Agency’s recommended 5ºC.)

If you do share cheeses and sliced meats or jars of food (once opened most jars should be kept in the fridge and have a limited shelf life) make sure your family or housemates are regimental about not using cutlery in shared foods, which have come into contact with glutinous foods, such as their own butter/margarine bread, pasta, sauces etc.

Write your name on your GF butter and margarine tubs (using a permanent marker) as well as on jams and pickles and cheeses. This way, if they do get used by someone else (this is strictly prohibited in my house!), they know to keep it away from crumbs etc.

BUY  squeezy mayonnaise, Ketchup, Brown sauce and any other food accompaniments you can use in squeezy bottles. This prevents further the risk of contaminated cutlery or food particles entering them.

Recycle- Wash up and save squeezy bottles so you can DIY other sauces into them. Do make sure you label them too!

Tip 3 – KITCHEN SURFACES

The kitchen surfaces are one of the biggest issues in my home – it has taken years of practice for everyone to get it right and keep it crumb free. I have had to be regimental and very bossy in my preferred cleaning methods.

Have your very own section of worktop (if you can spare the space) and DO NOT let anyone else use it! Also, have your own chopping boards (not wooden as they absorb gluten). Make them personal to you by writing your name on them and mark them as GF with a permanent marker.

Get your family and/or housemates to clean (to your standards) every time they use the surface. This ensures a tight and regular routine and makes it a lot easier for you to function.

I must add, I ALWAYS clean EVERY TIME before I use any kitchen surface, regardless of who has cleaned prior to my use. You really cannot be too careful!

TIP 4 – CLEANING

Get a dishwasher! My dietician strongly recommends it - in order to safely remove (at 60 ºC  or higher) all traces of gluten form your utensils and crockery. Also, it makes life so much easier when you have a larger household.

Wash absolutely EVERYTHING in your dishwasher (if you are lucky enough to have one) if not, clean all items that are shared in hot water N.B. be careful!  If you have room, wash all the items and then soak them at 60ºC before thoroughly rinsing under the hot tap.

TIP 5 – UTENSILS, PANS AND CROCKERY

I have my own utensils and they are marked GF with a permanent marker pen.

ALL utensils & pans go in the dishwasher on a 60 ºC + cycle. If any are heavily soiled, wash them in your sink 1st to remove stubborn (especially gluten containing) food such as pasta and sauces.

I also have my own cereal bowl; it is a lovely vintage blue design and a ‘one off’ in the house so everyone else knows it is mine and not to use it! Bonus!

TIP 6 – FOOD PREPARATION

 TIP 7 – SERVING

Here it is important again to use your own surface, boards, cutlery and serving utensils.
I have my own wooden utensils which are marked GF and kept in a separate pot away from the other utensils.

TIP 8 – CLEANING CLOTHS & TEA TOWELS

ALL cloths & tea-towels are changed daily in my home anyway. I have my own which again, do not touch Gluten containing foods or food serving items (such as dishes or trays).

Crumbs and traces of gluten can easily be picked up in damp cloths which are a perfect home for nasty bacteria to grow.

Keep your cloths rinsed, squeezed out and hung to air after every use throughout the day.

I soak mine in Milton regularly and ALWAYS wash all kitchen towels and cloths including oven mitts, at 60 ºC.

Finally…
Label everything that is yours! If you have any tips you would like to share, please get in touch and I will consider them for future posts.

Please Note: These pointers are just tips and guidelines and not strict rules, it is up to you how you use them and I take no responsibility for any methods you use or how you implement them. How you use this information is your choice and I can not in any way monitor or oversee your kitchen hygiene methods or standards.

For food safety standards guidance please visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

Hexydec