Monday, December 1, 2014

Do you Cross Contaminate?

Many food allergen survivors are used to the food warning labels that typically read "processed in plant or shared on the same equipment with wheat, milk, egg, shellfish, tree nuts, soy, gluten, etc."  If you do not have a food allergy, you may wonder why I call us survivors.  Depending on the severity of the allergy every day can be a battle.  Even if we ourselves prepare the meal we have to be careful of cross contamination.

I was first made aware of the severity of this warning as my friend's son was anaphylactic to shellfish and pistachios. At a young age, he was highly aware of cross contamination.  He had a few close calls and for him it is a life and death challenge.

I never gave much thought to it with my own purchases until I had a bad reaction to Folger's coffee. Although the label reads 100% Columbian coffee, I absolutely can not stay awake after drinking a cup. This led me to believe that the coffee was processed  in a facility that used soy. Since then, it was brought to my attention that many companies spray their coffee beans with some sort of soy derivative. Whether Folger's sprays or not, I simply won't purchase it.

Have you check the warnings?

I primarily cook at home, experimenting with recipes and ingredients.  My daughter and I have different food allergies. At times, I must separate and cook a portion of the food in different pans being careful not to cross contaminate cooking utensils.

Today, I erred. Although we have been testing my daughter's tolerance to yellow and orange peppers, she seems not to tolerate black pepper at all. After cooking omelettes for my husband and daughter (they can eat eggs), I realized I should have used a different pan and utensil for her omelette.

After we had already left home when she had a reaction.  Usually to combat the effects of a fragrance attack, I keep an emergency bottle of Target brand liquid dye free antihistamine in my bag.  

This time my "big" little girl needed this as it was the first time she complained that her throat felt as if it was closing.  Gratefully, after about 20 minutes, she improved and for the next hour slept off the effects of the antihistamine and the food allergy symptoms.

Cross contamination is not be taken lightly, it is important and can be life threatening.  Is is important to read the labels, learn the derivative names of ingredients on products labels and be careful how we handle our food and utensils at home.