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little_c

Why Doesn't Heat Destroy Gluten?

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I'm newly diagnosed and have been reading about the cross contamination issue in food that's cooked in the same oil. Let's say that I want to deep fry my chicken wings in oil that was also used to fry breaded fish? Why is cross contamination an issue when the temperature of the oil is so high? Also, I've been told that I should throw out my old tupperware and non-stick frypans which have been used for cooking glutened food. How long does this stuff last on surfaces? Why after repeated heating up would gluten still be on a fry pan?

Someone please explain. Thank you!

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This is actually a good questions. Sometimes we do, but we don't ask why.

gfp....this is a good one for you to answer.

That is if you can "dumb it down at bit", at least for me....

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Gfp will have the best answer, but this is what I remember -

Gluten isn't a bacteria or virus. It's the protein component of the grain. You can't kill it. It would be like being allergic to peanuts and saying that if you cooked them long enough or at high enough temperature, they would no longer be peanuts.

So the little bits of gluten just float around in the oil and stick to whatever else is being fried in there.

No amount of heat for any length of time can get rid of gluten. If you can't get in there and wash/scrub it out, it's going to stay there.

If you've got cast iron pans, I've heard you can reseason them, but I don't know the process.

Same goes for washing hands. That's why using hand sanitizer doesn't really work very effectively for getting gluten off your hands. All it does is spread it around. I learned this the hard way. Although I don't know why Wet Ones towellettes do work? Hmm...?

Also, remember that gluten is sticky (remember making paste out of flour and water when you were a kid?) and will get stuck in crevices. The little scratches in cookware, the grain in wood, scratched up plastic, mesh strainers.

There were several pieces of my really old plasticware that I tossed just because they were so scratched up that there was no way I could clean it well enough. Most of it I kept with no problem. So I'd say it's a judgement call. The lids can be really hard to clean with all the grooves and stuff, but if you get a new cleaning brush and really do a thorough job, it might work.

I hope that helps.

Nancy

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I had a conversation about gluten with my husband. He works in food and equipment for restaurants. He told me the only thing that can kill gluten is bleach. I won't go into all the details of the conversation, but I do know that my son works at a pizza place and they wash all the pans and dishes with bleach.

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I had a conversation about gluten with my husband. He works in food and equipment for restaurants. He told me the only thing that can kill gluten is bleach. I won't go into all the details of the conversation, but I do know that my son works at a pizza place and they wash all the pans and dishes with bleach.

That doesn't sound right to me. It's probably the thorough cleaning and not the bleach. I'm sure some of our more science-y members will be able to tell us for sure.

Nancy

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I was told that even bleach doesn't kill it. The best we can hope for is that we get all the crumbs.

Wheat can't be killed by heat. Gluten is the glue that holds things together, the hotter it gets, the stickier it is, in my opinion, anyways. When using a fryer for cooking breaded items, it's not the oil that is the problem, it's what stays in the oil after frying that is the cross contaminate. Little crumbs of breading stay in the oil and will get on your chicken wings.

When I first went gluten free, contamination was explained to me in this way. You take one piece of bread and you crumble it into 1000 pieces. 1 crumb from 1000, 1/1000th of the bread is all it takes to make us ill. Just think about how tiny 1/1000th of a piece of bread is!

It is a very big deal that you not use the same oil.

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You can't kill gluten because it isn't alive to begin with. About the best you can do is disassemble it into smaller bits (molecularily speaking) or wash it down the drain. The way we "use" proteins in our bodies is we have these enzymes that shear them to bits and eventually they're torn down into amino acids. It's really not possible to emulate that with household cleaners, at least, not as far as I know!

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Gluten can't be "killed", as it's a protein. The portion of the protein that causes the celiac reaction is actually a small subset of the gluten protein, and it is very stable. Heat and denaturing chemicals don't have big influences on them. (That's one of the key 'features' about gluten.) Even 600F heat isn't enough to destabilize the sequence of amino acids that form the sequence which causes the autoimmune reaction, let alone bleach.

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Gfp will have the best answer, but this is what I remember -

Gluten isn't a bacteria or virus. It's the protein component of the grain. You can't kill it. It would be like being allergic to peanuts and saying that if you cooked them long enough or at high enough temperature, they would no longer be peanuts.

So the little bits of gluten just float around in the oil and stick to whatever else is being fried in there.

No amount of heat for any length of time can get rid of gluten. If you can't get in there and wash/scrub it out, it's going to stay there.

If you've got cast iron pans, I've heard you can reseason them, but I don't know the process.

Same goes for washing hands. That's why using hand sanitizer doesn't really work very effectively for getting gluten off your hands. All it does is spread it around. I learned this the hard way. Although I don't know why Wet Ones towellettes do work? Hmm...?

Also, remember that gluten is sticky (remember making paste out of flour and water when you were a kid?) and will get stuck in crevices. The little scratches in cookware, the grain in wood, scratched up plastic, mesh strainers.

There were several pieces of my really old plasticware that I tossed just because they were so scratched up that there was no way I could clean it well enough. Most of it I kept with no problem. So I'd say it's a judgement call. The lids can be really hard to clean with all the grooves and stuff, but if you get a new cleaning brush and really do a thorough job, it might work.

I hope that helps.

Nancy

That's what I would have said...

Gluten isn't a bacteria or virus.

The peanut analogy is probably the easiest way to look at it.

Its not alive ... so if you think about trying to "kill" it its on the wrong track..

Like NancyM said

It's really not possible to emulate that with household cleaners, at least, not as far as I know!

Yep, however I wouldn't say its impossible to make something "safe" that is more effective at cleaning/washing it away or even breaks it down but exactly what I wouldn't wany to say.... but applying the logical that something that kills bacteria doesn't seem like the logical way.... we just go back to the fact its not alive to be killed.

Although I don't know why Wet Ones towellettes do work? Hmm...?

As you said you have to wash/scrub it away... wet ones have a mild detergent ... a simnple way to look at a detergent is it makes sticky things less sticky... that is it "detatches" the sticky stuff making it easier to wipe away... hence the way we wash dishes using detergent... for regualr washing. Wet ones probably make it stick less then you rub it off onto the towelette...

The problem with gluten is as darlingdeb say's ... it takes a tiny amount and its incredibly sticky...

If you take normal flour and wash it in lots and lots of water what you end up with is a sticky mess which is almost pure gluten...

This is the simple method used to actually seperate starch and gluten ... so from my POV I think this is the easiest way to visualise it... if you think in terms of killing it its not helpful because its not alive to start off...

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I had not thought about it this way, yet I have another example that I am sure many of you can relate too:

If you take normal flour and wash it in lots and lots of water what you end up with is a sticky mess which is almost pure gluten...

When I used to make cutout sugar cookies, I used to dread the mess it makes. Flour all over the table--sticky, sticky, sticky. The clean up consisted of wiping and wiping and wiping again. The dish water was slimey, the dish cloth was slimey, your hands felt funny. That my friends, is gluten!!!! It grows and grows.

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I had not thought about it this way, yet I have another example that I am sure many of you can relate too:

If you take normal flour and wash it in lots and lots of water what you end up with is a sticky mess which is almost pure gluten...

When I used to make cutout sugar cookies, I used to dread the mess it makes. Flour all over the table--sticky, sticky, sticky. The clean up consisted of wiping and wiping and wiping again. The dish water was slimey, the dish cloth was slimey, your hands felt funny. That my friends, is gluten!!!! It grows and grows.

Exactly...

The thing I find is it really helps to be able to visualise what your talking about...( even if that visualisation isn't 100% technically correct which isn't the case here) if you can think of it in the right terms like that you can start thinking about how to control the stuff...

Perhaps a silly example but lets take the imaginary Scot's Haggis ... that elusive creature roams Scotlands mountains and Glens... (OK... just imagine Haggis is actually an animal)

Erm so everyone imagined a small rodent? Probably not :D so if you were trying to build a fence to stop pesky haggis it wopuld help to know if they are the size of a horse or the size of a rabbit... can they jump like a kangaroo? etc.

Realising your dealing with this sticky slimy substance means you can then at least think in terms of how to control it...

Like you say it grows and grows.... well it spreads and spreads... and when we used to have gluten flour we would clean it up and wash it off with lots and lots of water and towels BUT because we only need such a tiny amount its not really cleaning it...

Like DarlingDeb say's its on the dishcloth, in the water etc. etc. and basically everything you touch...

If we were talking about something easy to see like tar which is also sticky... its easy to see that it gets everywhere once your hands are covered with it...

Aniother good way for you gals is like Mascara... if you put it on over the sink (like my girlfreind does)... getting the stuff off the sink needs a good scrub and lots of soapy water... however because mascara is designed to be highly visible its easy to se when you got most of it off :D

And the good news is its not making us ill, just unsightly...

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Thanks to everyone for your input. The info you provided will help me explain all this to those people in my life who are trying to understand the new me. This message board is a life saver.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, haggis... :)

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I've been out of school more years than I like to think about, but to be completely technical isn't the answer that heat can destroy gluten but you don't get that level of heat in any household applicance.

I seem to recall that someone posting here that propane grills are not an issue for holding gluten - is that because they can get hotter than an oven or stove-top?

Not trying to be difficult or overly technical but it sounds as if some people have family/friends who will be...

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I've been out of school more years than I like to think about, but to be completely technical isn't the answer that heat can destroy gluten but you don't get that level of heat in any household applicance.

I seem to recall that someone posting here that propane grills are not an issue for holding gluten - is that because they can get hotter than an oven or stove-top?

Not trying to be difficult or overly technical but it sounds as if some people have family/friends who will be...

Technically correct.... I wouldn't want to risk a propane grill though... but yep if you make stuff HOT enough ...you can break it down to the individual atoms... (that's how a mass spec works)... but its VERY VERY hot... i.e. superheated plasma...

As a simple way to view it a wood fire gets pretty damned hot... but pickk through the embers after and stuff is still recognisable...

break open the big bits of what was wood and is now pretty much carbon and you find that some of the wood survived on the inside... (carbon makes a fairly good insulator) :D

Indeed you can take a bit of wood that's been dead for 100 millions years and heated up to 200 or 300F for a long time and still find wood proteins inside it... we commonly call this coal :D

or another way to look at it is burn a wheat field to the ground and next year it will spring into life as the ones which survived magically shoot up.... (even if 95% wasa destroyed)....

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Wow! Thanks for starting this thread. I know what not to do, use, replace etc.. but the actual scientific end of it I would never understand. I feel like I know more now.. thanks so much. So a grill surface that is heated to burning off the remaining stuff, be it stuck chicken, burger, etc, is not enough to rid of the gluten.. even using easy off cleaner might not do it, do to scratches in the surface of the grates... is that right?

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Wow! Thanks for starting this thread. I know what not to do, use, replace etc.. but the actual scientific end of it I would never understand. I feel like I know more now.. thanks so much. So a grill surface that is heated to burning off the remaining stuff, be it stuck chicken, burger, etc, is not enough to rid of the gluten.. even using easy off cleaner might not do it, do to scratches in the surface of the grates... is that right?

I honestly can't say for definate....

look at it this way....

How much do you have to burn a marinade sauce before it stops tasting like marinade...?

Certainly the meat's pretty much cardboard and the marinade is still recognisable.... and when Ive been cleaning the grill's quite often when you start giving it a good scrape the hard black ball turns out to have a soft inside?

However....

I'd say risk is largely based on the "thickness".... that is a something in a little scratch is going to burn away before something thicker... in other words I'd rather rely on a good clean with easy-off and then a damned good heat than just one or the other...

One thing you can use is drain cleaner (caustic)... which is also the main ingredient in oven cleaner...

This actually does break down most organic matter! (eventually) Its also really dangerous to work with... wear gloves avoid breathing it in and remember as you heat it up and the water is released its getting stronger and stronger....

note: yes its dangerous... but so is barbecue lighter if you don';t use it carefully....

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Lots of good answers and analogies here.

One example which comes to my mind is soap and water. The soap molecules get in between the water molecules, keeping them apart. This reduces the surface tension of the water too. The result of this is basically that the water is in smaller pieces, allowing it to get deeper into crevices to get them clean. Otherwise it's like water droplets on a window screen - they don't just fall through, because of the surface tension. You might say soap makes water "wetter". But, it's still water! If the water itself was taken apart you'd get two gases - hydrogen and oxygen. So while you may be able to take apart a larger molecule of gluten, the tiny fraction to which the immune system responds is likely still intact. You'd basically have to destroy the stuff right down to the level of those amino acids.

An additional analogy might be those Lego blocks. Let's say you build a house out of the blocks. You can take a hammer to the house and smash it to pieces, but you still have blocks left. Then you can really go at the blocks with the hammer until you've destroyed them. Now they are pulverized and no longer blocks. But, you still have plastic! Now try to imagine destroying the plastic itself with nothing more than a hammer. Can you actually make it no longer plastic? Grind it up all you want - it's still plastic. You can melt it and reform it into something useful. That's what we call recycling. Destroying gluten might be as difficult as removing only the color of those plastic blocks, though I suppose the molecules for the color are much larger than the fraction of gluten which makes the immune system react.

So maybe it's like a gun target. The smaller the target, the more difficult it is to hit. But if you can hit it just right, and repeatedly, you can eventually put so many holes in the target that it falls apart. Hitting the problematic gluten fraction might be like trying to shoot a mosquito from a distance of a mile away. You'll hit a whole lot of stuff before you ever get the insect. Care to kill an entire swarm that way? There's a lot of gluten in wheat (much more so today than in the past, before wheat was hybridized).

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The bleach doesn't kill gluten, it causes the sticky parts of it to become much less sticky. This makes it easier to clean, and hrader for the gluten in the water or on the sponge to stick back to the pans.

You can actually contaminate a pan by using the same sponge on a safe pan that was used on a contaminated one. Putting safe and unsafe objects together in the dishwasher, not cleaning the sink between uses, stacking safe items with contaminated ones, or storing gluted products above safe ones in the pantry or above your safe dishes is also a hazard.

Just a thought.

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The bleach doesn't kill gluten, it causes the sticky parts of it to become much less sticky. This makes it easier to clean, and hrader for the gluten in the water or on the sponge to stick back to the pans.

Cool. Now that you mention it, bleach does make the water slippery doesn't it?

Good to know. Thanks.

Nancy

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Cool. Now that you mention it, bleach does make the water slippery doesn't it?

Good to know. Thanks.

Nancy

The "soapy" feel is because bleach is an alkali ... I don't know specifically about gluten but the reaction of bleach with most organic matter is to produce trihalomethanes, most of which are carcinogenic.

Not to be too panic mongering but under sunlight one of the possible byproducts is phosgene gas.

However bleach isn't an efficent ionic desurficant (which is the action being described) compared to normal dishwashing liquid...

Anyway, specifically to gluten I don't know which is most efficient I just wouldn't want to rely on bleach...

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