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Cross-Contamination
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I was told to not use pots & pans on both gluten & gluten-free items? To what extent? Is regular dishwashing enough or would it require a more thorough cleaning? What about toaster? Right now we have a 4-slice toaster, I was planning on keeping one side (the one that we use less) for gluten-free items, would I need to buy a new one since you can't really scrub a toaster? To what extent do we need to freak out about cross-contamination? Does it have to do with the amount of intolerance? What about bread baking, can the same pans be used for both wheat & gluten-free bread as long as it gets washed properly in between bakings?

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I know for me there was a "grace period", where cutting out gluten as an ingredient in anything but still using the same pots and pans (though thoroughly cleaned) was totally ok for me, and definitely helped me get a handle on things without an added pressing stress. After a while gluten-free, my sensitivity and my reaction got stronger, so I definitely had to buy all new pots and pans. I tried scrubbing them and bleaching them (since it denatures proteins, not sure if it works on gluten but it made me feel better), but still found that many of them bothered me. Definitely replace scratched non-stick pans, cutting boards, and wooden utensils and boards. I found I was ok with unscratched glass though - after scrubbing multiple times and bleaching. In general, I tend to be more sensitive than most I think.

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We still use same pots and pans but you definitely got to get rid of the toaster!!

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Porous, soft surfaces should not be shared between gluten and non- gluten cooking. That means don't use the same teflon-coated pots and pans for both, nor the same wooden, plastic, silicone, and rubber. Well cleaned glass,ceramic, and plain slick metal are okay. The toaster really needs to be dedicated gluten free, so you'll need a new one for that. So do cutting boards, storage tupperware type containers, rubber spatulas, wooden rolling pins (you can use a drinking glass as a rolling pin, and they do make ceramic ones), colanders need to be dedicated, plastic measuring cups and spoons if you don't use glass or metal ones, etc. Get a permanent marker and mark the new stuff prominently. Clean out your drawer(s) you put this in. If you use cast iron, you can either use new cast iron, dedicated, or burn off the old coating in the oven on the clean cycle and then re- season it.

I have a toaster oven with a removable rack, and removable bottom crumb-catcher, so I can take that out and clean it once in a while, which comes in handy during the learning-curve phase when you may accidentally use a type of flour which you either cannot tolerate or is too cross contaminated, or is accidentally used for something that you really wish it had not been.

I don't know why anyone would want to use the same pans between regular wheat and gluten- free baking, bread pans are relatively cheap compared to getting sick over and over again. And the wheat flour goes EVERYWHERE in the air during measuring and mixing, (so does tapioca flour :rolleyes: ) so it's really better to just do ONE kind of baking in any kitchen.

Although people vary in the amounts of cross contamination that they can tolerate, it is the total amount of whatever threshold you have for gluten contamination that you do not want to cross, which means that you try to avoid it very hard at home, in a controlled situation, so that your "daily quota" from the rest of the world can be withstood. You may or may not feel sick and have symptoms from cross contamination, what you do not want to have happen is that the auto immune reaction is ongoing, which will cause your body to turn on itself and damage other organs, nerves, inflame joints, demineralize bones, even damage the brain. The sensitive and super- sensitive people are much more fanatical about this sort of thing, because we really don't like getting incapacitated.

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Thank you. Our kitchen is mostly stocked with glass and metal, once I was diagnosed with cancer 4 years ago, I got rid or my teflon & plastic! We have friends with a gluten-free child and they said they used a 4-slice toaster with one side gluten-free and the other side gluten and they're fine. I'll probably still end up buying a new toaster to start with a fully clean side. Would I need to keep everything separate? As in wooden spoon? Should gluten-free & G spoons not be stored together? And cutting boards? I'm thinking about marking one side gluten-free but then they would all be store together.

My son is the gluten-free one, so we'll still have regular gluten product, not as much but I don't think I'm ready to give up my bread quite yet! Besides bread, we should have much gluten in the house, but I might occasionally bake with it. It's all new to me, right now, he hasn't had an official dx, waiting for celiac panel to be done before we start the gluten-free, even if negative, I'll still try it and see if there are changes, so it might not be the problem even though it sure looks like it. We'll see..

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I have gluten free stuff that is red. I get red duct tape and put a big piece on my PB, butter tub, mayo, etc. I have a red toaster and a red colander (you can't get all the pasta out of the little holes) and red spoons & red cutting board.

Be careful baking wiht gluten flour. It can linger in the air for a day or two. Then it lands everywhere including on the gluten free kid's favorite cup sitting on the counter. How mean is it to make a gluteny cake or cookies and tell a kid, "Sorry. You can't have it."?

The toaster would bother me because all the crumbs go to the bottom and if you picked up the toaster to clean the counter, you would be shifting all those crumbs around.

As for the comment about "amount of intolerance" ; If you have Celiac, gluten is doing damage whether you feel it or not. My son has a friend that has Celiac. His mom says "He isn't very sensitive. Its OK for him to get food at places that have no idea about cc." Well, I have seen the kid's FB postings about spending first hour of school in the bathroom because he or his family isn't careful. He may not be sharing that with her or she chooses to ignore it.

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I would never consider storing things like spoons, cutting boards, etc. together. Having a cutting board be one side gluten the other gluten free is also so close to impossible, I'll just call it impossible. As soon as you prep your first gluten, the gluten free side will be contaminated. Period. The whole thing with cross contamination is that it is largely accidental, and early on can go unnoticed. Then suddenly you notice you aren't feeling well and try to figure out where the hidden gluten is and can't put your finger on it. Then suddenly you realize that you have a small fortune in kitchen utensils and goods that you have to either give up to the gluten side or simply throw away because they are at fault. Better to avoid it from the get-go.

I personally don't think the pans are as much a big deal as long as they are stainless steel. I know that on occasion after my husband and I are out of this house he will occasionally want to cook something I don't approve of that is poisonous to me. I also have no desire to spend money on spare pans for him or to give him a gluten cupboard, so I'll let him use my stainless steel. God help him if he touches my cast iron. That is not shareable without much hassle of stripping and reseasoning.

I also wouldn't risk a 4-slice toaster, but I know some people are happy with them. There is the cleaning out of them and moving of them that is risky that bothers me. Then there is the putting in and out of bread. You have to assume that the people handling gluten bread aren't holding it over the gluten free side and sprinkling crumbs and contaminating and... just the thought makes me shudder. It is so much risk, and toasters are so cheap.

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We still use same pots and pans but you definitely got to get rid of the toaster!!

We do also. If one cleans pots/pans, etc very well, I find it hard to imagine finding gluten residue down to 0-20ppm. Not sure how sensitive I really am.

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Thank you everyone, we haven't started the diet yet, I'm trying to get this all right before we start so that I don't have to keep buying things for the kitchen. I'm thinking about making a utensil bag for my gluten items since we won't be using them much and I'll have to re-season my cast iron :( I thought they would have been ok, we'll have to remember to cook gluten food in stainless. Looks like I won't have too much replacement items to buy. Phew!

PS. I'm not mean enough to bake cookies and watch him suffer ;) For my sanity, we're all going to be eating gluten-free for the most part.

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PS. I'm not mean enough to bake cookies and watch him suffer ;) For my sanity, we're all going to be eating gluten-free for the most part.

Well...that's a relief! :D

I used to try to make gluten pasta and gluten-free pasta at the same time and the $2 I saved wasn't worth the stress of trying not to put the spoon from one pot to another, etc. My hub tried to make omelets for he & I at the same time he was making pancakes for the boys....it requires too much concentration and effort!

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Well...that's a relief! :D

I used to try to make gluten pasta and gluten-free pasta at the same time and the $2 I saved wasn't worth the stress of trying not to put the spoon from one pot to another, etc. My hub tried to make omelets for he & I at the same time he was making pancakes for the boys....it requires too much concentration and effort!

I agree! My husband used to do the same thing and I finally was like, this is too hard. You keep touching my stuff or at least reaching for it, and I'm spending so much time hovering and stressing out that I can't just cook. We're done. No more gluten and gluten free at the same time. Cooking is far less worrisome now. :)

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Unless your son is adopted, he got the gene from one of you. just saying . . . the local celiac specialist that my family is working with said she's never seen a case where only one person in the family had celiac disease. it's genetic.

my family is also new to this - we're at 7 weeks now, and we've all gone gluten-free. my 20 yr old daughter started the parade, and as i read online over the next few days, i realized that i have it, my brother has it, and i'm certain my mom had it. i got tested and have some antibodies and the gene, but my daughter is allergic to blood tests (LOL) and just went gluten-free. we know she needs to because she feels so much better. after reading a lot, we realized my other daughter has DH symptoms and son has stomach issues too. my husband got the antibody tests, but not the genetic, and it looks like he doesn't have it - although since going gluten-free his little (HAHA) intestinal gas problem seems to be gone.

you don't have to worry about your utensils and cooking pans if you all go gluten-free, at least at home.

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You can scrub your cast iron with steel wool and then and boil hot soapy water in it to clean it. Of course you need to re-season it then.

If you are concerned about bread, try some Mission brand (or other) corn tortillas instead. There are also gluten-free rice wraps available. Most of them need to be heated with a little steam so they bend without breaking. They are much cheaper than gluten-free bread. You can also get Chex and Pebbles gluten-free cereals and Betty Crocker makes some gluten-free cakes mixes. Food should Taste Good brand chips have some gluten-free versions.

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Unless your son is adopted, he got the gene from one of you. just saying . . .

Madagascar, he is! ;) Have the appt made for this afternoon to get all the tests done and because it is genetic, his brother will be tested also. Might as well because going gluten-free. Hubby & I won't do the test, as adults, we don't "need" a dx, but he does have some stomach issues that he is hoping to rid of with the new diet. And as a bonus, I found out last night that if my son has a doctor dx, gluten-free food will be tax deductible.. woohoo :)

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. And as a bonus, I found out last night that if my son has a doctor dx, gluten-free food will be tax deductible.. woohoo :)

In the US, this is difficult. Your medical expenses have to be a certain percentage of your income. Then you have to show that a regular loaf of bread costs $3 and gluten-free costs $6 so you can use the $3 difference on the taxes. If everyone is eating the gluten-free bread, you might get caught trying to say 1 kid eats 2 loaves a week. The medical deductions often trigger an audit. You will want to consult a tax advisor (probably eating up the deduction) and read up on it to be safe..

There are some threads about that on the forum.

http://www.celiac.com/articles/279/1/Tax-Deduction-for-Gluten-Free-Foods-as-a-Medical-Expense-for-Diagnosed-Celiacs-Only/Page1.html

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In the US, this is difficult. Your medical expenses have to be a certain percentage of your income. Then you have to show that a regular loaf of bread costs $3 and gluten-free costs $6 so you can use the $3 difference on the taxes. If everyone is eating the gluten-free bread, you might get caught trying to say 1 kid eats 2 loaves a week. The medical deductions often trigger an audit. You will want to consult a tax advisor (probably eating up the deduction) and read up on it to be safe..

There are some threads about that on the forum.

http://www.celiac.co...Only/Page1.html

People are scared of the IRS for no apparent reason. The IRS is in fact, not scary, as long as you aren't actually lying to them on purpose. Yes, read up on it. No, the deduction will not be eaten up by speaking with a tax adviser unless you are seeing the wrong people. If you already pay someone to do your taxes (and if you take deductions, you almost certainly do) they should offer a consultation on this for free or you can speak to them about it when you have your taxes done. If you already do deductions, adding this isn't a big deal. If you don't already, this won't get you to a place where doing deductions makes sense. Is it all sorts of complicated? Yes. But that shouldn't scare off people who are entitled to it. Honestly, I don't know where the myth came from that you are so much more likely to be audited because you took a medical deduction, but in my experience doing taxes (and from speaking with the owner of a local, long running firm who offers audit support) it simply isn't true. What flags you isn't the deduction itself but if your deduction is out of proportion for your income.

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I guess I was assuming she didn't already take medical deductions. Or use a tax advisor. I know that we have health insurance so we don't have a big enough % of income spent on medical. I maybe spend an average of $20-30 a month on things that are not naturally gluten-free. Then that pasta, flour, etc is mostly consumed by non-Celiacs. You can't deduct corn tortillas or hamburger even if I eat it.

Last year, at tax time there were some articles on the net or in the local paper about what flags you for auditing. Medical deductions of small things were one of them. If you keep good records and follow the rules, getting audited would just be a pain in the behind. If you are "winging" it or trying to claim 2 loaves of bread, 3 bags of cookies, etc a week for one 4 year old, you might be in trouble. I realize that that trouble just means they deny it and you have to pay what you saved, plus interest on that amount & maybe a small penalty and/or audit processing charge.

Its certainly something she should look into, if she thinks it might be helpful.

Just realized that the link said it was a 1993 ruling. Not sure if it is the same now or not. Why do US taxes have to be so complicated? :blink:

Edited by kareng
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I guess I was assuming she didn't already take medical deductions. Or use a tax advisor. I know that we have health insurance so we don't have a big enough % of income spent on medical. I maybe spend an average of $20-30 a month on things that are not naturally gluten-free. Then that pasta, flour, etc is mostly consumed by non-Celiacs. You can't deduct corn tortillas or hamburger even if I eat it.

Last year, at tax time there were some articles on the net or in the local paper about what flags you for auditing. Medical deductions of small things were one of them. If you keep good records and follow the rules, getting audited would just be a pain in the behind. If you are "winging" it or trying to claim 2 loaves of bread, 3 bags of cookies, etc a week for one 4 year old, you might be in trouble. I realize that that trouble just means they deny it and you have to pay what you saved, plus interest on that amount & maybe a small penalty and/or audit processing charge.

Its certainly something she should look into, if she thinks it might be helpful.

Just realized that the link said it was a 1993 ruling. Not sure if it is the same now or not. Why do US taxes have to be so complicated? :blink:

I hate hate hate the US tax code. It is so convoluted and complicated that frankly the IRS people don't even understand it. Even people who use things like H&R or such should be able to get free "advice" (I choke on that) when they get their taxes done. I've always worked for CPAs, and would take what any "professional" with a few hours training says with a grain of salt. When I say "already take deductions" I mean deductions in general. I guess it counts though for both medical and in general. I know it keeps me working 3 months a year, but I seriously support taking the entire IRS tax code and burning it.

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Didn't think I was going to stir up anything.. hehehe.. I worked for Jackson Hewitt the past 2 years and currently pursuing an Accounting degree. Red flags are when it doesn't makes sense with the income and honestly, I don't even know that we would spend enough in gluten-free food to be worth the extra time & effort to do it right, but.. it could be worth it. And yes, in between school lunches and breakfast, my son could easily eat 2 of those tiny gluten-free loaves ;) But I plan on finding good recipes to bake it myself, we don't buy processed food right now, and I don't plan on starting with gluten-free. Maybe a bit at first to help out get a hang of it and while I find recipes, but processed food hasn't been part of our regular diet for a while. So yeah, by the time I figure out the 7.5% of our income, I don't know it'd be worth it. We'll see..

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I think it's the "needs to be 7.5% of your income" thing that stops many of us. If you're making $50,000/yr, you need $3750 in after-insurance, eligible medical expenses to do medical deductions. I think many of us don't spend that much, even if you include co-pays, glasses, and gluten free food.

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Didn't think I was going to stir up anything.. hehehe.. I worked for Jackson Hewitt the past 2 years and currently pursuing an Accounting degree. Red flags are when it doesn't makes sense with the income and honestly, I don't even know that we would spend enough in gluten-free food to be worth the extra time & effort to do it right, but.. it could be worth it. And yes, in between school lunches and breakfast, my son could easily eat 2 of those tiny gluten-free loaves ;) But I plan on finding good recipes to bake it myself, we don't buy processed food right now, and I don't plan on starting with gluten-free. Maybe a bit at first to help out get a hang of it and while I find recipes, but processed food hasn't been part of our regular diet for a while. So yeah, by the time I figure out the 7.5% of our income, I don't know it'd be worth it. We'll see..

Haha, I don't think anything is stirred up so to speak. I just think the myth that the IRS is something to be afraid of should be dispelled. And fear should never stop someone from taking a deduction they are rightfully entitled to. Also, totally off topic (well, sort of not really) isn't accounting awesome! I'm unable to pursue finishing my degree right now, but am hoping to head back to school by the fall 2014 semester.

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Agreed and yes, people think I'm nuts but I love accounting! Good luck with your goal :)

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Agreed and yes, people think I'm nuts but I love accounting! Good luck with your goal :)

Oh, I love it too! :) (As long as someone else does it)

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