Whether people under your own roof have allergies or you are going to cook for guests with allergies here are a few tips that will help ensure the chance of cross contamination is minimal.
Before starting to cook
- plan your meal/etc. where possible make the food allergy-friendly for everyone eating at the time.
- double check your recipes for allergens.
- double check your ingredients. This can be done with the sufferer or even with the product producer. Just call them to check - sometimes the same product might be ok from one manufacturing plant but not another...
- where possible, store unsafe allergy food separately (e.g. different shelf)
- always start with a tidy kitchen and adequate bench space
- wipe down all bench tops and work area with a clean, damp sponge or cloth - preferably a brand new one.
- wash your hands with soap and dry well - on clean towel
- ensure all bowls, equipment and other utensils are completely clean
- avoid the use of any equipment (particularly wooden) that has been used previously (unless they are only used for allergy- free cooking)
- covering chopping boards with baking paper if there is any possibility of cross-contamination
- avoid bringing any other food into the area while cooking allergy-friendly food
- cook allergy friendly food before unsafe food to avoid cross-contamination
- use separate clothes or paper towel to clean up any spills of unsafe food and the clean the area again with clean, damp cloth
- prepare pans and trays using dairy/soy-free spread e.g. Nuttelex or allergy-friendly cooking spray and non-stick baking paper or paper case liners.
- ensure table and chairs are completely clean before people sit down
- wash your hands before setting the table
- ensure allergy-friendly food and unsafe foods have different serving utensils
- where it is a child with the allergy, keep unsafe food away from their section of the table and do not allow them to serve themselves if unsafe food is present.
- ensure containers are clean and have not been used for unsafe food
- if unsure, line container with non-stick baking paper
- use particular colours to designate allergy friendly storage containers