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Ask The Allergy Chef: Cross Contact vs Cross Contamination

Ask The Allergy Chef: Difference between cross contact and cross contamination?

    Could you tell me what the difference is between cross contact and cross contamination? I can’t seem to find a straight answer.

    Why yes, yes I can. These two terms aren’t the same and cause a good amount of confusion with consumers.

    Cross contamination is a term used by chefs and food industry professionals to refer to food borne illness such as e.coli. For example, a cutting board was used to cut raw chicken. Then, it was used to cut raw lettuce that will be used for a salad. That is cross contamination. The raw chicken can cause a food borne illness.

    Cross contact on the other hand is a term that refers to the contact of a potential allergen with another food. For example, a cutting board was used to slice a loaf of wheat bread. Then, it was used to cut lettuce for a salad. There has been cross contact of wheat from the bread to the lettuce. This can cause an allergic reaction.

    Here’s why there’s confusion. To those in the free-from community, they view an allergic reaction as a food borne illness. It’s quite literally an illness that’s derived from food, so they feel the term cross contamination is appropriate.

    Yet, when they use the term with food industry professionals, not everyone understands what they’re trying to say because it’s the wrong term based on food service education.

    I’ll leave you with this article link. I dive pretty deep into cross contact and cross contamination. I talk about how it happens, and ways you can prevent it at home. 

    Hope this helps!
    ~The Allergy Chef

    Cross Contamination and Cross Contact: Keeping Allergens Away

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