WHERE can I find sources of cross-contamination?

By Jenny Stegen | October 25, 2020

Gluten in Your Kitchen

Let's take a tour through the kitchen and talk about some sources of cross-contamination. As I mentioned in my introduction to our gluten free lifestyle: gluten hides and lingers on surfaces in small cracks, crevices, corners, scratches, holes, and pores.  

Here's where you will find it:

Your Mixer or KitchenAid

Think about your mixer that you have been baking with for years.  If you look closely at the attachments you might see tiny little hardened chunks of residual batter stuck in and around the parts. This is a source of gluten that will contaminate the gluten free cake or cookies you are going to bake for the party. 

Non-stick Frying Pans

Look closely at your non-stick pan - see the scratches on the surface?  Even though you can’t see it with the naked eye, gluten is hiding in those scratches to contaminate the gluten free meal you will be cooking for supper. 

Griddle and Waffle Iron

Similar to your non-stick frying pan, these items have surfaces that love to collect gluten over time.

Wooden Spoons, Rubber Spatula, Whisk

If these utensils have been heavily used, they will have similar reservoirs of gluten that you cannot always see with the naked eye.

Cutting Board

Your cutting board, especially if it’s made from wood, is likely to be contaminated. Unless, of course, it’s only been used to cut fresh fruits and veggies.

Colander

If yours is anything like mine, it's been doused in steaming hot noodles a million times. It's quite likely that gluten permanently lives in your colander.

Toaster

This one is self-explanatory. Crumbs of gluten galore!

Air Fryer

Same as the toaster. Gluten Gluten everywhere!

Blender

My Ninja is not just used for making smoothies. I use it to chop bread into crumbs for meatballs and to crush crackers for graham cracker crust. Chances are your blender has been exposed to gluten depending on what you use it for. 

Grill Grates

If you like using sauces, marinades, and seasonings, your grill grates are likely contaminated with gluten - and it's not coming out.

Baking Sheets, Pizza Pans, Muffin Pans

Residue builds up on these pans over time which becomes the perfect home for gluten. No matter how hard you scrub - it’s not coming out.

Plastic Containers

Plastic is less porous and less likely to hang on to gluten. Theoretically, it could hold onto gluten if it has been heavily used or used to reheat foods.

Your Butter, Peanut Butter, Jam, & Mayo

Also self-explanatory. I guarantee if you look in your current stash of condiments you will find they are topped and infused with lots of lovely crumbs.

Human Hands

Your hands touch and handle everything in the kitchen. It's not hard to imagine they can transfer unwanted gluten into the food you are preparing

Safe Items in Your Kitchen

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel bowls, pots, frying pans, silverware, and utensils are all less likely to collect gluten especially if you have taken good care of them and washed them well.

Glass

Glass is good. It is non-porous.  It is less likely to have deep surface scratches and much less likely to hold onto residue. Your glass bowls, glasses, plates, and dishes are safe. 

Does anyone have the wonderful set of old Pyrex bowls with the pour-spout handles? Are these not the best!? Oldies but goodies - thank you, Grandma!

Jenny Stegen with her awesome set of Pyrex bowls

Your Food

Certain foods are likely to be cross-contaminated with wheat. This usually happens during harvesting or at some point during the manufacturing process.  Refer to my spectrum of risk as a guide. Unfortunately, sources of cross-contamination do not have to be disclosed on your food labels.  Don’t hesitate to call the manufacturer of the product to ask about the possibility of cross-contamination. Items labeled gluten free should be safe and free of cross-contamination. 

Remember, you can never go wrong with fresh foods: fruits, vegetables, eggs, unprocessed meats. These are always the safest and healthiest choices.

Restaurants

Restaurants are notorious for cross-contamination. Unless the restaurant is 100% gluten free it is very difficult to follow strict protocols that will keep your food safe. Be very cautious, even if menu items are labeled gluten free. Learn more about restaurants in my article entitled How to Find Celiac Safe Restaurants.

Now you are able to identify sources of cross-contamination. You are doing great! Your next step is learning how to prevent exposure to these sneaky sources of gluten. Read on to learn more.

Jenny's Signature