What? A Gluten Dude blog post??? Yeah…sarcasm duly noted and warranted. While I have still been an active advocate on social media, my blogging has been sh*t. Time and focus have been an issue the past year for various reasons. But I’m back…and hopefully on a much more regular basis. Cause lord knows, I still have a lot to say. Let’s kick it back off with a topic I’ve wanted to post about for some time: the dreaded shared toaster.
When I was diagnosed with celiac disease back in (thinking…thinking) 2008, one of the first things Mrs. Dude did was get me a new toaster strictly for my use. The Dudettes were young, not gluten-free and lived on bagels. (Fast forward 14 years, the Dudettes are in their twenties, both gluten-free and haven’t touched a regular bagel in years.) Anyway, there was never a discussion about whether a shared toaster was safe. You ever empty out a toaster and see all the crumbs that come out? Pretty gross and gluteny. Not safe and even if you got lucky and somehow avoided cross-contamination, why the heck would you risk it? Nuff said. Or so I thought.
There was a study done in 2019 to quantify the risk of shared appliances and utensils in the kitchen. Here are the details and results, taken from the Boston Children’s Hospital website:
If you are a bit confused, join the club. 40 slices is hardly a large enough sample size. And the other highlight says that no matter the test results, if you see gluten-containing foods on a toaster (i.e. crumbs), you should not use it.
Now I don’t want to knock the experiment or the folks behind it. I’m all for facts that can limit the paranoia that is out there that “gluten is everywhere and in everything.” It isn’t and it’s not. And they fully admit it was too small a sample size and they did not test for hydrolyzed gluten. But that did not stop people from celebrating that “Yay…I can use a shared toaster now!” That’s not what the test proved but that’s the context that a lot of people took out of it.
Which leads me to yesterday, when I saw an influencer on IG Reels telling her community of over 50,000 people that a shared toaster should be ok. And she was giving away a free toaster. And then at the end of the video she says a dedicated toaster is still probably your best bet. Confused again? Yeah…I’m still in that club too.
So here’s the deal: CAN you use a shared toaster and not get glutened? Maybe. SHOULD you though? Absolutely freaking not. Remember…one hit is all it takes to set off the autoimmune response. Is a shared toaster worth that risk? I’ll leave that up to you.