Food allergies - what you need to know
Australia has one of the highest allergy rates in the world. For every 100 customers in your business two of them may have an allergy. Anaphylaxis, the most severe life threatening form of allergic reaction, leads to the death of between 10 and 20 Australians each year. Food allergy is a SERIOUS issue but with an allergy management plan in your business the risks can be minimised.
Most common food allergens
2. Treenuts eg. Brazil nuts, almonds
9.Cereals containing gluten
Are you allergy aware?
An Allergen is a substance that produces an immune response i.e. an allergic reaction.
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening severe allergic reaction. It is a 'whole body' immune response to an allergen and if left untreated can be fatal.
Intolerance is a non life threatening negative reaction to food. It is not due to an immune response like anaphylaxis. People with a food intolerance experience symptoms such as bloating, cramping, headaches and eczema.
An allergen matrix is an easy reference document, put together by you or your staff, to go to when you need to know if a dish on your menu contains any allergens. For example, if a customer asks you if a dish contains egg, you can go straight to your allergen matrix to find out. Being aware and prepared to respond to allergy requests will be very helpful in busy periods and will reduce the risk of mistakes being made.
The City has developed an allergen matrix resource(PDF, 87KB) to make it even easier for you. The document can be downloaded and is also editable, so changes can be made with ease.
If your menu changes your allergen matrix should be updated also.
For more information on allergens
Contact your Environmental Health Officer on 9267 9267
Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia
NSW Food Authority booklet - be prepared be allergy aware
Food Standards Code - Food labelling