Laura Hanley

Separate Gluten-Free Appliances: Are they necessary?

by Laura Hanley on January 25th, 2013


A question that many new gluten-free eaters ask themselves.

Do I really need to go out and buy a new toaster? Will I really get sick from crumbs?

The above questions are asked at the same time that the overwhelming feeling of what has my life become? starts to set in.

GlutenFree tester ToasterDo you have a dedicated gluten-free toaster? I do. I went out and got one the day I went gluten-free. If I was going to do this whole change my lifestyle thing, I was going to do it right. That’s just the kind of person I am though. I don’t half-*** anything, so I definitely wasn’t going to cut any corners as I got myself healthy. No way, no how.

But, not everyone feels the way I feel. Maybe they don’t get the same symptoms from gluten that I do, and see this all as a bunch of jargon that their doctor told them. Maybe they just don’t want to go out and buy another appliance, or maybe they don’t have the extra funds to go purchase yet another thing for this diet.

I understand where you’re coming from if you’re on the fence. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own opinions regarding it all. We are all entitled to that, aren’t we?? I’m pretty dead-set on the dedicated appliance thing too, so when I decided to do the below experiment, regardless of the outcome, I knew it wouldn’t change my dedicated-appliance practices.

Does a non-dedicated toaster pose a serious threat?

What is GlutenTox? It is a kit that allows you to test for traces of gluten, whether it be 5ppm or 20ppm. I was given a couple kits from Emport LLC at the Celiac Awareness Tour in Cleveland.

I didn’t want to test actual food though, I wanted to test something that we all can relate to. So, the first thing that popped into my head was testing the gluten-eater toaster in my household.

If I toasted gluten-free bread in the gluten toaster, would it be contaminated?

Experimentation Time

So here’s what I did:

1. Read the GlutenTox directions and got everything I needed: Gluten toaster, gluten-free bread, GlutenTox testing tubes.

2. Toasted a slice of Rudi’s Gluten-Free bread. Scraped as much of the top layers off as I could, which yielded one scoop of crumbs.

3. Put the bread crumbs to the test.

The Results

The test strip (which looked like a pregnancy test so I didn’t post any pics online…didn’t want people to get the wrong idea!) had a blue line across the middle. If a red/pink line appeared after 10 minutes, there would be traces of gluten found in the sample.

So I waited….

Ten minutes later the timer went off. What were the results?

NO RED/PINK LINE!

Not going to lie, I was kind of ticked off. Had I been taking unnecessary measures the past 3 years? Are my toaster-beliefs all a lie?!

These questions were running through my head as I wondered how I would write to all of you that the test was negative, and that the gluten toaster didn’t contaminate my bread. BUT, that’s when I realized that there’s still too many unknowns…

Did I scrape every part of the bread? Did every crumb make it into to the little test tube? If I didn’t scrape some tiny little space on the bread, I would still have ended up eating it, resulting in a gluten-induced illness.

Analysis

Even after analyzing the data I collected, I still wouldn’t use the gluten toaster. The threat is still there. I didn’t have a positive this time, but I might next time.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get in bed with the Devil.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Author Information:

Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009. She reviews gluten-free products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences onwww.gfreelaura.com. Laura also blogs for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. You can follow Laura’s young, wild, and [gluten] free updates by finding her on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.


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6 Responses to “Separate Gluten-Free Appliances: Are they necessary?”

  1. Amy says:

    I am so surprised that the test came back negative! Have you seen the You Tube video showing how difficult it is to clean cooking equipment to make it gluten safe? It’s eye opening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvSwVF0r4Ds

    I would not use the same toaster ever–even use different slots in the toaster–because I’ve read gluten can contaminate through the air.

    When we set up my college celiac’s kitchen, we bought bright red appliances and cookware to prevent the non-celiac roommates from using.

  2. For the first 4 or 5 months of being gluten-free, I continued to use the same old toaster. I didn’t think anything of it (hence my blog name, haha). Since it was so early on, I’m not sure if it was making me sick or not. I did spend various, random times in the first 6 months though having “off” days; that was also before I learned to fully read the labels, and notice the “manufactured on shared equipment” line (which meant I had to toss the Trader Joe’s peanut butter I loved).

    Despite not having the counter space for it, I got another toaster eventually. I’m not about to replace the toaster oven just yet. I’m also not sure what to do about the Kitchenaid stand mixer. That sucker was our wedding present and it’s pricey!! We don’t bake much but my husband wants to be able to use it occasionally to make himself Tollhouse cookies and I of course want to be able to use it for things. He says that he will clean it thoroughly after using it, but I don’t know. I wish I could get my hands on those test strips, but they’re out of my budget.

  3. Laurie says:

    My husband has celiac and I do not, and we have separate everything: peanut butter jars, butter containers, jelly, kitchen cabinets for our food. We only have one toaster but it has 4 slots, so I take 2 and my husband takes 2. It’s hard, but I’d rather him feel good rather than sick!

  4. G-Free Laura says:

    Celeste,

    I was definitely surprised when the test came back negative, but I do not doubt that gluten was somewhere on that piece of toast!

    Kez,

    I’m glad you found the article helpful! Good luck on your gluten-free journey!

  5. Celeste says:

    Laura,

    I was looking forward to hearing the results of the testing since you first mentioned it on twitter. I think I’m kind of surprised, too. You would almost have to think some gluten would wind up stuck to the heating coils and that could possibly contaminate any gf bread toasted after it. Very interesting.

  6. Kez says:

    Interesting article and very helpful as I’m about to start my GF journey. I don’t wanna leave anything to chance!

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