Food allergy through cross-contamination has been a topic of discussion among Keralites lately. The clumsy, careless use of chopping boards and knives in our home kitchens can lead to severe food allergies, besides being a threat to food safety in general, says Celebrity Chef Suresh Pillai.
Here are some tips and guidelines from Chef Pillai to avoid cross-contamination in your kitchen:
Food poisoning may happen through the mere negligent use of cutting boards, and knives which were already used to cut food items which may have allergens.
Now, colour-coded cutting boards and knives are available in the market; Red for meat, blue for seafood, green for vegetables, white for dairy products, a different board for food with gluten and so on. All professional restaurants ensure the use of colour-coded boards and knives to avoid cross-contamination of food.
Though we may not be able to buy all these types for our home kitchens, it is ideal to buy at least three types of chopping boards and three different knives for veggies, meat and fish. Ensure that the board and knife are washed thoroughly with hot water before and after each use.
A person with a severe allergy to prawns can pick the allergy, which may even be fatal, simply from eating the fish cut on a board that was used to clean prawns.
Studies say that wood chopping boards are more dangerous as they may absorb the essence of the food item chopped on them. We should promptly change the cutting boards as they wear and tear, without being close-fisted then. Avoid being miserly when it comes to food safety, Chef Pillai says.