We all go to potlucks, birthday parties, reunions and just family or friendly gatherings. Chips are one of the EASIEST things to bring and there are several that are gluten free –making them a quick and easy item for us to grab and offer at an event.

However, it is also one of the first things to get contaminated.  Hands grab the gluteny buns or crackers and then the same hands go right into the bag of chips –causing sudden cross contamination.  No matter how hard my families or friends try, somehow this happens — and nobody intends for it to, but old habits prevail and it does.

In my simple world, we would all be safer if everyone just started pouring their chips from the bag and onto the plate?  Here’s my argument for the gluten free lifestyle, but I also think it helps with other issues:

  1. It keeps gluteny hands from contaminating the whole bag of gluten free chips  (this probably helps with other allergies as well)
  2. It keeps germy hands from contaminating the chips and getting others sick  (Hello!  Cold and flu season isn’t far off)
  3. It helps with portion control (have you ever opened a bag of chips and just sat there eating until suddenly you notice half the bag is gone? It’s not pretty.)

If you know convincing everyone to pour the chips just isn’t an option, here are some other solutions:

  • Buy a separate bag and stash them out of the way for yourself.  I did that this weekend with a bag of Baked Cheetos.  Emma had “clean” chips to eat at any point of the long holiday weekend.
  • If it’s a one-time occasion, pull the amount of chips you want first, then give the rest away for everyone to fondle in the bag or in a bowl
  • Put the gluteny stuff on the end of the potluck line (I have tried this and I’m not sure it works 100%…because once people get up for seconds, that’s the end of your gluten free section)
  • Or finally, no gluten allowed.  Make the entire meal gluten free.

Believe me I am trying to create habits of pouring not grabbing or plopping not spreading with my own nuclear family and it’s hit or miss here.  So when is celiac etiquette too crazy for the rest of the world?  When do you have to protect yourself and do some of the other options listed above versus educating and creating new habits amongst the closest people in your life??

Feel free to comment below!

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4 Responses to “Cross Contamination Conundrum: Chip-Handling Etiquette and Being Celiac Safe!”

  1. or you could by the individual serving bags.

  2. We have tried all of your ideas…some worked, and some didn’t. The latest “idea” we have tried, and probably the easiest, is the small individual bags. This is a bit pricier, and there are only a few GF varieties, but this way everyone gets “their” own kind of chips. We did have to pull out the GF ones so they didn’t dissapear 1st. 🙂

  3. With my boyfriend and my immediate family members I try to educate and change habits so that the whole bag of chips, or the whole jar of mayonnaise, doesn’t get contaminated. When I’m with a bigger gathering I just bring my own food and serve myself from the bag before anyone else gets their hands on it. I went to a family reunion this summer and was pleased to see that one group of people made all GF appetizers, so I was able to eat with everyone else without cross-contamination. How nice!

  4. In situations where chips are put into serving bowls I have often kept a little back in the bag to stay gluten free. When lots of people are eating and gluten is present, cross contamination is a problem on many fronts, but pouring chips would certainly help.

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