Cross-Contamination at Home

Posted 8.19.09 | Sarah O'Brien

If your little one suffers from severe food allergies, you are probably aware of the risk of cross-contamination in the factories where food is manufactured. Unfortunately, this is not the only place where cross-contamination can occur. If you have other family members who eat allergenic foods, then you can run the risk of contaminating your home and the safe foods that your allergic child eats.

Here are a few tips to avoid cross-contamination:

1) Label your foods as “Safe” and “Unsafe” and keep them stored in separate areas of the refrigerator or pantry. The same goes for plates, utensils and cups. Keep a separate set for your allergic child, and make sure that they look different to avoid a potential mix-up.

2) When preparing a meal, always make non-allergenic foods first. You should also leave allergenic ingredients in the pantry/fridge until you are completely finished preparing your allergic child’s meal. It is also a good idea to serve food in only the kitchen and dining room. This way you don’t have to worry about stray crumbs or residue in other parts of the house.

3) Finally, one of the best (and easiest!) defenses against cross-contamination is frequent hand washing. Everyone in your household should wash their hands after touching or eating allergenic foods and before touching or serving non-allergenic foods.

What have you done to prevent cross-contamination at home? Have any of you completely eliminated allergenic foods from your household?


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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.