Cross Contact Versus Cross Contamination
In the gluten-free community, we talk a lot about gluten accidentally getting into our food, especially food that is prepared at a restaurant. Most often we hear this referred to as cross contamination. Did you know that isn’t the correct term? The term for this is cross contact.
Let’s talk about cross contact versus cross contamination a little more in depth. Cross contact is when one type of food comes into contact with another type of food, like when crumbs of bread come into contact with a dish that is free of gluten. Or when French fries that are gluten-free are cooked in a shared fryer with gluten-containing foods.
Cross-contamination refers to the process of microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses being unintentionally transferred into foods during the preparation or storage. Gluten isn’t a bacteria or virus, therefore cross contamination isn’t the correct term to use when referring to gluten being in food.
When discussing gluten being in food that needs to be gluten-free, the correct term is cross contact. For more reading, visit these links:
Preventing Cross Contact at Home from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Avoiding Cross Contact from Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE)
This article from the National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine explains further about cross contact and cross contamination.