Do You Need Separate Cookware for Celiac Disease?

Maybe.  A recent abstract at 2019 NASPGHAN meeting addressing this issue was highlighted in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News.

Link: Recommendations for Children With Celiac Disease Need Update

An excerpt:

In two related experiments, researchers from the celiac disease program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C., looked at whether, and how much, gluten could be transferred from contaminated cafeteria foods and school supplies to children’s hands, work tables and gluten-free food (abstract 656). The researchers also analyzed how effective different washing methods were at removing gluten contamination…

Ms. Weisbrod said she and her colleagues were surprised that using a shared toaster for both gluten-free and gluten-containing bread transferred minimal gluten (<5 parts per million [ppm] in most samples), as did playing with Play-Doh (median, 1.25 ppm). Both exposures were well below the 20-ppm threshold the FDA uses to consider an item gluten-free.

My take: The NASPGHAN meeting also featured a lecture by Alessio Fasano indicating that ~30%of patients with celiac disease had persistent disease due to poor adherence with a gluten-free diet and about 10% of patients with celiac disease are exquisitely sensitive to gluten.  So, while this small study indicates that gluten exposure may be lower than gluten threshold in many cases when sharing toasters, etc, I think more attention should be directed at strict gluten avoidance rather than trying to discern if some level of cross contamination may be acceptable.

Addendum: Cross-contamination results were later published with regard to three items -cooking pasta, use of toaster, and slicing a cupcake: Gastroenterol 20202; 158: 273-5.  The associated editorial (page 51) the authors state that they do not believe that concern about gluten cross-contact is overblown and state findings should be cautiously interpreted in light of small sample size and lack of investigator blinding.

Related blog posts:

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