Mother’s Day, Graduation, and Memorial Day are fast approaching, and you may find yourself entertaining during this time. If you or any of your guests have Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity, or any other food allergies, you will need to clean your kitchen thoroughly to avoid any cross-contamination.
What is cross-contamination of gluten? Cross contamination happens when wheat particles, no matter how small, are unintentionally transferred to a gluten-free item and causes a harmful reaction.
Here are some items in the kitchen that might be overlooked:
- Hands – Always wash your hands before you start cleaning each item. After cleaning each item, wash your hands again and make a second pass at cleaning an item.
- Refrigerator Door and Handle – Wipe down the refrigerator a minimum of 3 times using damp papers towels or wipes. Throw away towels or wipes immediately after each pass.
- Oven and Burners, Microwave and Toaster Oven – All crumbs or particles must be removed from the oven to ensure they don’t find their way to your gluten-free dish. If you plan to serve some items that contain gluten to your other guests which require warming on the day of your gathering, reserve one appliance for heating gluten-free items to avoid contamination.
- Grill– Clean racks thoroughly, as well as all exposed surfaces. Racks and food splatter found on the hood are often remnants from sauces or marinades containing gluten.
- Counter tops, cabinets, and cabinet hardware – Wipe down these surfaces at a minimum of 3 times using damp papers towels or wipes. Throw away towels or wipes immediately after each pass.
- Standing Mixer, Hand Mixer or Food Processor– If you plan to use these items, or they are displayed on your counter top, clean all surfaces, nooks and crannies. Microscopic particles can make their way into your gluten-free mixture. A bamboo skewer is the best tool to use to clean out hard to reach places.
- Canisters for Dry Goods – Thoroughly wash or wipe down all canisters, even if you don’t plan to use them. If possible, place them in a dishwasher.
- Spice Rack and Individual Spice Containers – Wipe down all surfaces on the rack and individual spice containers. If you have other spices that are not kept in the rack, wipe them down.
- Knives, Butcher Block, Utensils and Utensil Holder that are Displayed on the Counter – Wherever possible, wash items in the dishwasher. Otherwise, hand-wash all surfaces, nooks and crannies.
- Cutting Boards – Wash all cutting boards in the dishwasher.
- Can Opener– Gears may have residue from previously opened food items that contained wheat. Cream-based soups or broths are notorious for containing gluten.
- Kitchen Accessories and Specialty Appliances – If these items are displayed on your counter top or will be used to prepare gluten free items, thoroughly wipe down all surfaces and clean nooks and crannies.
- Sponges – Use a new sponge to clean any plates, serving dishes or glasses. If you plan to offer food items that contain gluten, such as hamburger buns or pasta salads, buy sponges in two colors so you can designate one color for cleaning items for your gluten-free guests.
- Cloth Drying Towels – Designate one drying towel for your gluten free guests.
- Plastic Disposable Gloves – If you are serving items that contain gluten, use gloves when handling or plating food for your gluten-free guests.
Congratulations! Now, your kitchen is ready to entertaining friends and family without the fear of cross-contamination!
Food safety is important. Keep cold thing cold and hot things hot. Do not leave food out any longer than 2 hours.
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One More Thing…
There isn’t anything more important than being with friends and family. Have fun!!