We struggled with this one, as it’s really tough to get the point across to many people about how to deal with food and cross-contamination, and how easy it is to accidentally “gluten” Ava. This is very important to follow. Food cross-contamination with celiac disease is a serious issue!
Hands must be washed before handling food
Thoroughly wash both Ava’s and the preparer’s.
Food can be contaminated easily, but not be visibly so
For example, say you are eating a sandwich with gluten-containing bread, and Ava asks for another piece of fruit. If you touch that piece of fruit without first washing your hands — it has been contaminated!. Yes, it sounds silly, but that’s how it is. Another example is that Ava can eat plain JIF peanut butter, but if you have ever made a sandwich on gluten-containing bread, touched the knife to the bread, then back into the jar for more peanut butter — it has been contaminated!
The brand of the food is just as important as the type of the food
For example, Ava can have plain (un-contaminated) JIF peanut butter, but not some other brand, unless it has been verified by us to be gluten free or bears the specific term “gluten free” on label.
A restaurant is just like a brand
If we say something like: “Dairy Queen soft-serve is safe”, that means Dairy Queen soft-serve is safe to eat, not another restaurant’s soft-serve. There are other places, I just used Dairy Queen as an example.
Anything in Ava’s lunch box is safe for her to eat
When we found out Ava had celiac disease, we went out and let her pick out a special lunch box that we always have packed up and ready to go with several different kinds of gluten-free snacks. She brings her lunch box to school every day, and is supposed to eat only what is in that lunch box. I’ll publish another blog post about that little problem later…
When in doubt, call us
Please ALWAYS check with Carrie or Cory before giving Ava a food that we have not specifically stated she can eat.
Internal damage is not always obvious
If you have given Ava a type of food at one time and she did not complain of a stomachache shortly after, that does not necessarily mean it is safe. People with celiac disease do not always show the symptoms! Damage may occur, but it may not be apparent.