When considering safe food handling for gluten allergies there are a number of areas to be considered. Food preparation and storage at home is the easiest to deal with and will depend on whether you are catering for one or two family members or the whole family. If the whole family is to avoid gluten then cross-contamination of utensils and cooking pots does not become an issue. You may want to consider purchasing new containers and pots depending on your level of sensitivity.
Also, the age of the gluten free person will have an implication for how store foods in the fridge for example, so they do not accidently eat foods containing gluten that are safe for other members of the family. Eating out can be problematic as although many cafés and restaurants are offering gluten free options or variations on their menus – it is unfortunately questionable how many of them are fully aware of the issues of cross-contamination or even just exactly what ingredients are really gluten free – sadly I do hear of and have personally suffered due to this problem in the past.
In just a few hours, or even less, and without spending much money, you can organize your kitchen so that everyone in the family can easily find either the regular or gluten free foods they want. If some but not all of the family are to be gluten free it can be a challenge, especially if trying to keep younger family members safe. I would suggest cleaning out a lower kitchen cupboard that they can easily reach, and a lower refrigerator shelf, and stock them with gluten-free foods they can just grab. Check these areas regularly to make sure no wheat-based foods have been placed there, and keep these areas well-stocked with foods and snacks your child likes to reduce temptation to eat wheat-based foods. This arrangement will allow your gluten intolerant child to take food for snacks.
Put all your wheat-based foods in the upper kitchen cupboards and upper fridge shelves, even if you have other young children who are not gluten intolerant. Far better that they should eat gluten free foods than that your gluten intolerant child should eat wheat-based food. When you're around, you can hand them wheat-based snacks from the upper cupboards or shelves as long as they know not to share with their gluten-intolerant sibling. For most families, duplicates of a few kitchen items will make life much easier, and will keep your gluten intolerant family members safe:
• Having a separate butter dish for the gluten-intolerant eater.
• A second toaster forasting gluten free breads, bagels, English muffins, etc.
• If family members are not scrupulous about cleaning mixers, blenders, measuring cups & spoons, and other kitchen tools and appliances, get a duplicate for the gluten intolerant member.
• Line oven racks, toaster ovens, and roasting pans with aluminum foil, so wheat-based pizza crusts, spills, and other wheat-based products do not contaminate gluten free foods in the oven. Baking pans and trays can be lined with baking parchment or aluminum foil to prevent contamination.
• Buy new kitchen storage containers for gluten free flours and mixes and label them clearly.
• Separate sifters are necessary for gluten free blends as it is nearly impossible to remove all flour passages so the risk of cross-contamination would be too high.
• A dishwasher is ideal for effective cleaning of all dishes, if you use the sink although a separate dishcloth is a good idea and should be replaced daily.
Dining out should be fun and not impossible for those following a gluten free diet. Restaurant and hotel managers and staff want you to dine in their establishment, so they want to give you the best dining experience possible. Gluten intolerance as well as other food allergies are becoming increasingly common as more and more people seek diagnosis and many restaurants are starting to see the benefits of offering gluten free options on their menus. When you plan to go to a restaurant you could try phoning ahead to see what their gluten free options are like, do try to contact the manager or the chef during the daily slow times. Ask if any dishes are currently gluten free or if they can easily be modified to be gluten free. Be sure to explain cross-contamination, so they know to use clean utensils, oils, pots, griddles and pans.