How to avoid allergen cross contamination at home
We have peanut and dairy allergies in our house currently and previously had egg and sesame as well.
We tend to keep the house free from peanuts and products containing peanuts but we do not do the same for dairy. We did originally before Miss 3 was old enough to know to ask what was is her food, but as life has progressed dairy is a regular staple for the rest of the family.
- In the fridge all the dairy based products are in a separate plastic container. This not only helps to avoid any cross contamination in the fridge it also helps Miss 3 clearly identify what is off limits for her.
This would work equally as well in the pantry to avoid mixing of safe food with unsafe foods.
- Ensuring all benches and surfaces a thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water after every use is so important and will greatly reduce the risk of any allergens being left behind!
- HAND WASHING – it makes sense, when you have kids you are already in the habit of continually washing your hands.
However, it can be trickier to teach your little ones just how important this is and how to do it well! My two kids without food allergies are reminded before they eat anything ‘milky’ that hand washing is not negotiable after they have finished.
I have found that preschool and school have been great and encouraging hand washing to help teach your children how to do it correctly.
- When washing your hands it is imperative to make sure you are using warm water and soap. Antibacterial hand washes and wipes are not guaranteed to remove allergens.
Again this can be a bit hard with kids, I know myself I have been guilty of just grabbing a wipe and wipe of Miss 2 hands when I am in a hurry, but they WILL NOT remove all traces of allergens.
- Utensils – I always serve Miss 3 safe foods first and then serve the rest of us. Another idea is to have utensils marked especially for allergy free foods and don’t use them for anything else.
- Drinks – do not share cups and bottles. My children are still young enough to be mostly drinking out of water bottles. Miss 3 has her own bottles that the other girls do not use. My children are well versed in not sharing drinks, the challenge is when we have visitors with young children is making sure they are not swapping water bottles.
These are just some of the strategies we use in our house to make sure that food allergens are not spread across the entire house.
I find environmental allergens so much hard to manage across the house, Miss 3 is allergic to dusts mites, our cat as well as pollen and grasses. I will be exploring the management of environmental allergen is next weeks blogs.
As always I would love to hear how you manage food allergies in your house to avoid cross contamination.
love & happiness
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**Disclaimer: Information provided in this post is only based on experience and should not replace the advice you have been given from a medical professional and if you are at all worried about your child, take them to see your family doctor.
- Anna Wright