WHAT is cross-contamination?
Cross-contamination is defined as the unintentional process by which gluten is transferred from one substance to another. Cross-contamination is a really big problem for those with celiac disease living a gluten free lifestyle. It is essential to learn the sources of cross-contamination as they often are not obvious. You can spend a lot of time planning and preparing gluten free food, but all of your efforts go to waste if your work is contaminated.
This is one of many examples to help you understand the concept:
For the sake of this example let's say that no one living in your home has celiac disease. Your good friend with celiac disease comes over for a Saturday morning visit. You have a supply of homemade strawberry jam you would like her to try. You have some gluten free bread you keep on hand in your freezer. You pull a piece out and throw it in your toaster. Next, you get out the strawberry jam to spread on her toast. You are sure this is gluten free because there is no gluten in her bread, nor is there gluten in the jam you made. . . WRONG! There is gluten everywhere in your toaster and there is no doubt her toast came into contact with those crumbs. There is also gluten sprinkled throughout your jam from the crumbs that have collected. You just glutened your guest! Of course, your intentions were good, but the outcome will not be so fun for your friend.
The example above illustrates some pretty obvious sources of cross-contamination. Many sources are not so obvious which you will learn as you continue reading.
First, read on to learn why preventing cross-contamination is important.