For more detailed information on cross contamination download our Managing Food Allergies guide.
Cross-contamination is the cause of many serious reactions to food allergens. There are numerous ways that a safe food can come in contact with a food allergen for example:
- Shared utensils:
Someone uses a knife in a jar of peanut butter and then uses the same knife in the jam. The jam is now cross-contaminated with the peanut allergens. This can happen with ice cream scoopers.
- Shared cooking equipment: Do you good with grills, woks, blenders, etc… If you are keeping an allergen free home, you may want to think about replacing these items ore making sure that they are washed thoroughly before preparing foods for those with food allergies.
- Shared snacks:
Someone is using their hands while eating nuts, they then decide to use their hands to pick up some chips. The chips are now cross-contaminated
- Human contact:
Severe food allergen reactions have occurred through kissing. If you have a food allergy it is important to make sure your partner is aware of the seriousness of this allergy. There have been documented cases of severe allergic reactions from someone who has consumed a food their partner was allergic to and kissing them.
The same thing holds true on manufacturing lines that process other foods, which is why you will now see labels that are marked “may contain.” This can be extremely limiting. You will find your comfort zone. Overtime, we have become a little more comfortable with the label made in a facility, than we are with may contain, and we never eat when labeled “processed on shared equipment.”
For these reasons, we ate out less and cooked more meals at home. Keep in mind that was years ago and food allergens are taken much more seriously now with a greater awareness around the dangers.
Food Allergy Cookbooks: If you are like me, and you want to enjoy a good meal (even one your family and friends will enjoy) I highly recommend these two food allergy cookbooks. These were written by Linda Coss a true food allergy pioneer. We are on our second set as the first ones were worn. These books have recipes that are free from dairy, egg and nut allergens.