Though you don’t actually eat something you are allergic to, contamination from very small quantities can cause allergic reactions. Avoid cross contamination by keeping the following in mind –
- In the kitchen, you can have segregated cookware or utensils for those who have allergies, so there is no chance of contamination taking place that way. Cutting boards, countertops, even sponges and dishcloths can be responsible for an allergic reaction due to cross contamination; so take care of these aspects as well. Use disposables when possible.
- In the pantry don’t store allergens next to non allergens – rather use separate shelves for both. Appropriate labeling is also a good thing to give an idea of what is safe and what is not. Color code labels so that even preschoolers can understand.
- During food preparation, take care to avoid cross contamination – don’t use the same knives or stirrers; clean the grill properly; and so on.
- Make sure hands are washed properly after handling an allergen.
- When buying, take care to get products that are least likely to spread allergens around – For example, moist bread is less likely to have crumbs spreading than dry bread.
- Be consistent and make a habit of avoiding cross contamination.