How to avoid cross-contamination

I have had many allergic reactions from contamination. Something like using the toaster at home carries a high risk of contamination, so I always make sure to wrap my food in foil beforehand. Even a bubble boiling over from one pot to the other is enough to trigger a reaction. This also affects the food that I am able to purchase. Since I have to be cautious of what I eat, it requires a lot of research. I need to know where it’s coming from, what ingredients are included, and even the process of how it is made. Since cross-contamination can be unpredictable, I try to do what I can to control this risk. 

Below are some tips to avoid cross-contamination in different situations. 

At home:

  • Keep problematic foods with allergens far from where you prepare food and eat
  • Clean all surfaces thoroughly before and after food prep
  • Any foods containing allergens should also only be eaten in dedicated areas of the kitchen or eating space, so that any residue does not carry to other areas of the home
  • Label everything appropriately so that residents or visitors are able to recognize the potential dangers of the foods if they are interacting with them
  • Designate special utensils for food preparation areas and “allergen-free” use

Packaged Foods:

  • Read labels carefully, looking for any mention of the food to which you’re allergic
  • Look out for statements such as “processed in a facility that also manufactures wheat” or similar messages. This will inform you if there’s a risk that nuts or some of the other most common food allergens may be present.
  • If you are not confident about the information or something isn’t addressed on the label, it’s better to be safe and refrain until you contact the company and address your concerns.

When Dining Out:

  • Inform the server of your allergies and ask about the food preparation process. Don’t be afraid to double-check with your server to be safe.
  • If there happens to be a mistake with your order and needs to be sent back, be sure the server understands you need a brand new meal. Simply removing the item, especially if it is an allergen, does not solve the problem as the meal has been cross-contaminated.
  • Be aware that fried foods are a common source of cross-contamination, if they are cooking it in the same oil it can lead to an allergic reaction.
  • Try to avoid buffet-style restaurants, salad bars and ice cream parlors. These places can be high risk since scoops and serving tongs can be moved from one food to another and cross-contamination is very likely.

The main idea is to be conscious of what you are eating, and minimize your risk of a bad time. Now that the lecture has ended, let’s get to the food.

19 Comments

  1. matew1990

    I never knew about this topic until I read this. I was always so worried about my son’s allergies, but this really helped us out. He can now use the toaster whenever he wants and we don’t have to worry about him having a reaction.

  2. mhrvzzz

    I’ve had to take many allergy meds and allergy shots over the years from cross contamination

  3. einor31

    I always make sure to wash my hands before and after cooking as well as after touching other things that might have allergens on them.

  4. recee0403

    Having a severe allergy to gluten, I always make sure to use separate appliances when preparing food

  5. silentdragon

    I have had many allergic reactions from contamination and it’s the worst. Luckily, this handy guide teaches you exactly how to avoid cross-contamination in your kitchen

  6. rahnntosuryono1

    A must-read for anyone who has food allergies!

  7. roninranola16

    I have always been skeptical about the risk of cross-contamination. I have had many allergic reactions from contamination, but I’ve always just assumed that it was caused by something else. But after reading this article, I’m convinced.

  8. mia.leve

    If you are on any sort of restricted diet or want to avoid allergies, then it is important that you take precautions.

  9. johallen_th

    Unfortunately, it seems easy to get out of hand at home–my own toaster has caused me many allergic reactions!

  10. appeidpeter

    So I always make sure if I’m going to use my own kitchen, that I have a designated cutting board just for myself.

  11. kiberttan

    I feel like I’m always on the lookout for new safe products, and it’s not easy. With so much misinformation out there, and no one to really guide me through it all, I think it would be great if this article was available in a format that could be read without internet access.

  12. de.mile.villarin.cero

    I used to think cross-contamination was a myth, until I got food poisoning. It was terrible! I’m glad when I finally found this article that helped me learn more about cross-contamination because now I know how to avoid it.

  13. andiegupta

    I’m going to have to agree with this review. I’ve been looking for hours, and it’s getting frustrating. There seems to be a lot of misinformation about the subject out there, so it can be hard for me to find accurate information.

  14. geebise

    Allergies are the absolute worstttt

  15. tsutsu

    I was recently exposed to Salmonella in my workplace and with these tips I was able to avoid cross-contamination. My coworker who was also infected advised me to keep my distance from all raw food, use different utensils, wash my hands often, not eat or drink where I work, and be sure that I wash the surfaces before touching anything else.

  16. jraquinta

    I don’t know the first thing about cross-contamination but after reading this post, I feel like I have a better sense of how to protect myself.

  17. rb1128

    In everyday life, we are faced with the task of avoiding cross-contamination. None of these tasks are simple or without fail, but following them will go a long way in preventing the spread of disease and illness

  18. emlmeily

    I’ve been trying to avoid cross-contamination for years and it’s always been a struggle. I’m so glad that the author of this article has given us some great advice on what to do. The first few steps outlined are very practical.

  19. carl.ortizece

    When it comes to cross-contamination, there are many different scenarios that one can find themselves in. However, with the help of this handy guide, you can avoid any type of cross-contamination and keep your home as clean as possible.

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