For anyone who suffers from food allergies, diseases, or intolerances, eating at someone else’s house during the holidays can cause a lot of stress. Even if family members and friends go out of their way to prepare safe food, each bite will be taken with hesitation wondering, “is it really safe to eat?”
This isn’t due to lack of trying on anyone’s part, but due to the fact that there are so many ways that cross-contact can happen when people who aren’t used to cooking for allergies, diseases, or intolerances are preparing food.
Preparing food while avoiding cross-contact takes planning and vigilance, but the good news is it absolutely can be done. With a little extra thought and work, everyone around your holiday table can have a safe and delicious meal together!
According to FARE, cross-contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food, and the proteins (i.e. the allergenic components of the foods) mix. This is an issue for anyone with food allergies, intolerances, or diseases and can cause a reaction.
Cross-contact is different from cross-contamination, which refers to the exposure of bacteria or viruses to food. The largest difference is that exposure to bacteria from cross-contamination will be removed once the food is cooked, making the food safe to eat. Cross-contact does not cook out of food. Cooking food does not remove proteins and if food is eaten that has been exposed to cross-contact by someone with an allergy, intolerance, or disease, they will get sick or have a reaction.
For example, if someone suffers from Celiac Disease, all it takes is 10 MG of gluten or the equivalent of ONE CRUMB of bread to cause significant and measurable damage to their body.
Use these helpful tips to prepare allergy, disease, and intolerance-safe food so that everyone can enjoy delicious, safe holiday food!
With a little planning and preparation, the holidays can be enjoyable for everyone! Check out some of these websites that have great swaps for allergy-friendly and gluten-friendly recipes!
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