Are cast iron pans safe to use for people with celiac disease?

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
Q: Are cast iron pans safe to use for people with celiac disease?

Answer


We do not recommend using non-dedicated cast iron pans since they are more difficult to clean. There is usually always a caked-on surface of residue on this type of cookware, which is hard to remove. If you want to continue to use cast iron pans, I would recommend getting a new one and only use it for gluten-free foods.

Regular stainless steel, aluminum cookware, or ENAMELED cast iron are ok to use as long as they are washed with water and dish detergent in between use. A recent study found that cleaning stainless steel pans with water and detergent cleaned away gluten in shared pans (1).

What about old cast iron pans?

I get a lot of questions about cleaning old cast iron pans. It is up to each individual if they want to scrub an old pan clean, re-season it, and then dedicate it for gluten-free cooking. However, we have no research available on the safety of this, or whether it would introduce gluten into the diet. Until we have more research on this I would err on the side of caution and use a new pan.

Reference:

  1. Weisbrod VM, Silvester JA, Raber C, McMahon J, Coburn SS, Kerzner B. Preparation of Gluten-Free Foods Alongside Gluten-Containing Food May Not Always Be as Risky for Celiac Patients as Diet Guides Suggest. Gastroenterology. 2020 Jan;158(1):273-275. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.09.007. Epub 2019 Sep 24. PMID: 31560900; PMCID: PMC6917866. https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(19)41340-1/pdf

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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