Gluten-Full-&-Gluten-FreeOn Tuesday, I was asked a question at the Minnesota School Nutrition Association’s conference, where I gave a gluten free school lunch presentation.

Can you bake a gluten-free pizza in the same oven at the same time as a gluten-full pizza? 

Attendees, worried about cross contamination, said they have heard different answers to this: some people say yes you can other say no you can’t. 

I proceeded to ask, what would cause the contamination?  They responded, “The air.”  

In my little home, I have a regular old oven.  I use it for both gluten-full and gluten-free foods.  I really don’t make pizzas or bake much of anything at the same time, but I do keep gluten-full and gluten free pancakes or french toast warm (and on separate plates/containers) in the oven. We have no issues. 

In the question I received at the conference, it sounded as if the ovens the schools had were very different from my oven– not surprising.  They talked about the air being pushed around inside the oven.  They must have been talking about a convection oven.  Click here to see how a convection oven works by pushing air around inside to cook the food.

I inquired with Gluten-Free Dietitian Tricia Thompson on this one.  With her knowledge of gluten free and skills as a dietitian, I figured she could offer insight.  

If the attendees were indeed talking about an industrial convection oven, she said, based on the information I gave her, it should be fine.  “The filter should catch the food particles as the air is drawn in before pushing it back out again,” Thompson said.

“AND, a pizza in this state (premade) should not have ‘free’ flour floating around.”  I believe “free” flour would be more apt to float around in the case of a restaurant that makes pizza from scratch.

Thompson said it appears, given the information I supplied, “…if the gluten-free pizza is placed above the gluten-containing pizza on a dedicated rack or pan (because sometimes it is tough to clean all those nooks and crannies) then the pizza should be okay (assuming procedures are in place to prevent cross contact).”

She added that cleaning or replacing the filter often…is probably also a good idea.

You may still feel that you want to keep your foods separate in your home oven  or maybe you work in a restaurant and decide that you will keep the food separate when baking — that is great!  We all need to make choices on what is best for us and our gluten-free journey.  I just wanted to throw this additional information out to you for consideration.  


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