I first learned about cross contamination many years ago while in culinary school and taking the food safety course. Cross contamination is when the food you are working with becomes contaminated by another substance. I took this seriously as a personal chef with raw meat. And, as a pastry chef, I had to guard my workspace from the savory chefs. They were always intruding into my area and cutting onions on my chocolate board! I quickly earned a swift reputation as I was the only woman working in the kitchen. You can imagine the tension.
Cross contamination is a serious concern for those who have celiac disease or have non-celiac gluten sensitivity ("non-celiac gluten sensitivity" is the new official term for gluten intolerance or gluten sensitive). It doesn’t take much to move wheat flour as the dust floats so easily, and my kitchen is a zero gluten zone. I’ve even replaced my old wooden rolling pins and pastry boards. If you haven’t done this already, I recommend it as tiny particles of wheat flour can remain in the crevices. Something I hadn't considered, however, was the wheat flour that was sneaking home in my shopping bag.
The health-focused national grocery chain I frequent has gluten-free flour right next to whole wheat flour. We all know how wheat flour is packaged and that it easily sifts out leaving a chalky trail. You can see powdery white on the shelves and on the packaging of the gluten-free flour bags. Thankfully, gluten-free flours are sealed in airtight containers. But, for people like me, even the tiniest amount of wheat flour will make me quite sick.
I’ve asked the store to deal with this cross contamination issue; yet, over a year later it still exists. The store does have a gluten-free section, but they don’t have my favorite gluten-free flour there. Instead, it sits next to a monster package of wheat flour covered in wheat dust. I look forward to increasing awareness of this issue.
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