Today’s tips are regarding cross contact. While I will share how we make sure to avoid cross contact in our lives for my son’s safety, I wanted to start by explaining cross contamination and cross contact.
To start, what is cross contamination?
According to Eatright.org…
“Cross-contamination is how bacteria can spread. It occurs when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods.”
See entire article here: http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/four-steps/separate/cross-contamination
Now, what is the difference between this cross contamination and cross contact?
So, what is cross contact?
According to www.foodallergy.org…
“Cross-contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix. As a result, each food then contains small amounts of the other food. These amounts are so small that they usually can’t be seen.”
Why is it so important to understand and avoid cross contact when living with food allergies?
Cross contact must be avoided! There is no option for someone with food allergies. Any amount of a food, even if it is the smallest trace, that cannot be seen with the eye, can cause an allergic reaction. That’s the terrifying reality.
When my son was first diagnosed with multiple, life-threatening food allergies, we met with many doctors, allergists, and nutritionists. All of them brought up the issue of cross contact and the importance of doing everything possible to reduce the risk of this. It is often something people without allergies do not consider. (I know that I never thought about it before my son’s first allergic reaction.)
However, we quickly learned how to reduce the risk of cross contact. And here is how…
Avoiding Cross Contact
- DO NOT SHARE FOOD OR DRINKS: We don’t share food. If we are all eating apples, we all have separate apples. We cannot and do not take a bite of TJ’s. (Sometimes, I get sad because of this but then I remind myself, this is protecting him. It is a must!)
- SEPARATE UTENSILS: My son has his own utensils for everything. (forks, knives, spoons, straws, cups, etc.)
- SEPARATE CLEANING SUPPLIES: From the container we clean his sippy cups in to the dish-washing scrubs we use, TJ has his own. In addition to this, we use paper towels all the time for his utensils and supplies. We do not use the hand towels and dish clothes that we use for ourselves. The dishwasher is never used for my son’s utensils and dishes. Instead, all of his supplies are washed by hand.
- SEPARATE CONTAINERS: For any of the foods that we all eat, my son has his own separate storage, container, or box. For example, he has his own boxes of Kix and Chex. His own bag of rice, bag of vegetables, etc. We store all of his food separately and away from other food.
- SEPARATE COOKWARE: We have separate pots, pans, toasters, blenders, steamers, oven pans and trays, etc.
- THOROUGHLY WASH OUR HANDS BEFORE FOOD PREPARATION: Before we prepare any of his food, we wash our hands with soap and then dry it with a paper towel.
- CLEAN SURFACES: We clean all surfaces with soap and water, safe cleaners, and/or wipes.
- SEPARATE STORAGE: We have separate cabinets where we keep his utensils, plates, cups, etc. He also has a separate parts of our refrigerator. We are always careful to make sure no food is exposed and touching. If so, it is thrown away. Because I have seen how many people eat as they do their grocery shopping, we bring a shopping cart cover for my son to sit in and wipe it down if necessary.
- CAREFUL KISSES: Yes, I love kissing my son and shower him with love in endless ways every day. However, when it comes to kissing we are very careful. Even though we are currently a tree-nut and peanut free house, we are careful when kissing TJ after eating the other foods he is allergic to like dairy and wheat. Our family and friends all know about this precaution as well. See my earlier post for more about this topic. Tbt-Peanut Butter Kisses
- ACKNOWLEDGE THE REALITY-ADAPT-ADVOCATE: Last but not least, when living with food allergies, we acknowledged the reality of it all. Then, we adapted and continue to adapt our lives around ensuring our son’s utmost safety. After that, while continuing to educate ourselves, we feel that it is crucial to advocate and educate others as well.
With all of these precautions, we avoid “bunking up” with cross contact here and hope that we have helped others in learning about this topic. Because of that, we safely smile on…
For more information on cross contamination and an excellent site to check out about it, check out my previous post. Cross-Contact