Tag Archives: Cross Contamination

How Not to “Bunk up” with Cross Contact

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?

Cross Contact vs. Cross Contamination

Source: www.foodallergy.org

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.”
See entire downloadable document here: http://www.foodallergy.org/document.doc?id=291

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

  1. 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!)
  2. SEPARATE UTENSILS: My son has his own utensils for everything. (forks, knives, spoons, straws, cups, etc.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. SEPARATE COOKWARE: We have separate pots, pans, toasters, blenders, steamers, oven pans and trays, etc.
  6. 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.
  7. CLEAN SURFACES: We clean all surfaces with soap and water, safe cleaners, and/or wipes.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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…

tj cartoon

For more information on cross contamination and an excellent site to check out about it, check out my previous post. Cross-Contact


The Reality of Cross Contact

When my son was first diagnosed with multiple, life-threatening food allergies, I 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.)

Here is an excellent resource that discusses this topic.   Check it out and help us smile on…

Cross Contact

Source: http://www.allergysupportcentre.ca/

tj cartoon

Weekly Smiles (Events)

Here is a list of Smiling Away Allergies’ weekly events:

TIPSy Tuesdays

On Tuesdays, I plan to post tips that we have found helpful or something that we have learned during this journey so far. I call it “TIPS”y TUESDAYS not only because I must admit to being a bit corny at times, but mainly because I want to help others be prepared.  Therefore, once a week we will CHEERS to being prepared so we can smile on…

Worry-Free Wednesdays

Each Wednesday I will try to post a quote or lyrics to a song that I find inspirational.  Words that help me see past fear and worry, enabling us to continue to smile on…

Tbt (Throw Back Thursdays)

On some Thursdays, we will throw it back to some of the earlier signs and experiences with food allergies/eczema as well as what we have learned through it. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about the world of allergies…

Favorite Finds Fridays

I plan to post a “favorite find” on Fridays.  It may not always be directly relate to food allergies and eczema.   However, it will always be something that has helped us a lot with TJ’s experience, allowing us all to smile on in faith…


(Source: http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/39076/let+your+smile.html)

New FDA Requirements on Food Safety Elevate Allergen Controls

New regulations released last week from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now include several provisions related to food “allergen cross-contact” that elevate the importance of allergen management in the manufacturing environment. The new additions to the “Current Good Manufacturing Practices,” a regulation that has existed since 1986, signal increased recognition by the FDA, the […]


TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels – The Reality of Hidden Allergens

From food to non-food products, it is extremely crucial to be on the look out for hidden allergens. Reading food labels and learning about ingredients becomes second nature when living with food allergies.   However, even when you are comfortable with a product, it is important still double check the label especially since companies can change the makeup of their products. In addition, the ingredients in many everyday items will amaze you at times.   I know that I continue to be surprised by many of the components of common foods and non-food products.

Here is some of the information about coconut, oats, dairy, and peanuts/nuts that I have learned throughout the course of this journey so far. (It does not include every location of these allergens as we are still learning.)



  • many cakes, candies, chocolates, cookies, ice creams      
  • some Thai and Indian foods
  • some shampoos, soaps, lotions, sun products, and cosmetics

NOTE: Everyone’s body tolerates and reacts to foods differently.  For example,  TJ mildly vomited (spit up) the coconut milk that he drank at his last food challenge. Therefore, his body does not tolerate coconut milk and he is allergic to it.  However, the toddler soy formula that he has been drinking since June contains coconut oil which his body does tolerate.  In addition to this, Exederm, the shampoo/body wash we use for him contains Decyl Glucoside, an extract from coconut oil, glucose, and palm kernel oil. TJ’s body does wonderfully with this as well.  His body tolerates the oil but not the protein.

Coconut Allergy Resource 1

(Source: http://www.allergy.org.au/)

Coconut Allergy Resource 2 (Derived Ingredients)

(Source: http://coconutallergy.blogspot.com/)

2) OATS are present in…


  • many granola bars, cereals, cookies, puddings
  • oat based milks and creams
  • some moisturizers, face washes and scrubs
  • the Aveeno products that we had been using
  • some beers

Interesting article regarding foods with gluten and how oats are related to this

(Source: http://www.diabetes.org/?loc=logo)

3) MILK (DAIRY)/MILK DERIVATIVES are present in…

Aside from the obvious dairy foods like all of the varieties of cow’s milk, creamer, butter, creams, cheese and cheese products, yogurt, and ice cream, dairy crosses your path more than you think. Here are some other places that milk proteins and lactose exist…


  • some baking mixes, baked goods, breads, cookies, crackers, granola bars
  • some cereals (For example:  Honey Bunches of Oats contains whey from milk.)
  • some chewing gums (http://www.recaldent.com/c_where_find_recal.asp) and some breath mints
  • some caramel and candies
  • some non-dairy creamers and lactose-free milks (This includes my favorite “non-dairy” creamer that contains sodium caseinate, a milk derivative.)
  • some soups, broths and gravies
  • imitation syrups
  • Lactose is used in some prescription and over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.
  • Casein is in some art supplies like some types of chalk. (Check out the article below.)

Chalk & Dairy Allergy

(Source: https://www.navanfoods.com/navanblog)

4) PEANUTS/TREE NUTS are present in…

  • Because I could not compile a better list myself, I wanted to share this amazing resource as we read and smile on to a great week…

Peanut Allergy Avoidance List & Travel-Size Cards

(Source: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/)


  • Additional peanut/tree nut articles that I found interesting and informative.

Medications & Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies

(Source: http://www.peanutallergy.com/)

“Stupid Things That Contain Nuts”

(Source: https://itsahardnutlife.wordpress.com/)

TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels –