Food Allergen Consensus Statement
for PDF version see Food Allergen Consensus Statement
Interview April 2013
An interview Maria had Hello Foodservice in April 2013
With the incidence of food allergy has doubled in the last decade. Food allergies are real and can be life threatening. 1 in 10 infants* now have food allergy and whilst many outgrow their allergy, those with peanut and tree nut allergy often have it for life. This means the incidence of adult allergy is rising.Although any food can cause an allergic reaction, the most common allergens are: egg; milk; peanuts; tree nuts (eg. walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans); fish; shellfish (prawns, lobster, crab, etc); sesame; wheat and soy. These nine foods account for 90% of food allergic reactions in Australia.
Most people who have severe food allergic reactions in Australia have them when eating food prepared by another person. Many reported reactions occur in cafes, restaurants and clubs. Whilst food allergy is the responsibility of the individual with food allergy, those working in the food service sector have an important role to play. In recent years fatalities as a result of food purchased in a restaurant have been reported. Most times the trigger food was an actual ingredient in the food eaten and not a cross contaminant. Individuals with food allergy and those working in food service need to communicate more effectively in an effort to reduce risk.
Managing food allergy in food service – an informative video from 2012
Those in the food service area must make food allergy awareness and management a high priority issue. Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia has created a Food Allergen kit for Food Service is available for order through our website. This kit which was launched at the 2010 National Food Safety Conference in Victoria is supported by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Clubs Australia and the NSW Food Authority. It contains easy to understand information on law surrounding provision of food, ideas on how to reduce risk and factual information on food intolerance, coeliac disease, food allergy and anaphylaxis.
Always take requests and questions from customers seriously and remember the four R’s:
REVIEW the food allergy concerns in detail with the customer;
REFER the food allergy concerns to the chef, manager or person in charge;
REMEMBER to check the preparation procedure for potential cross-contamination, as well as ingredient labels;
RESPOND back to the customer and inform them of your findings.
After passing on required information, always let the customer make their own informed choice about what menu item to order.
Note: All other states and territories may find the content of this resource helpful.
What’s in it for my business?
With Australians eating more than 3.8 billion meals out of home each year, there is a huge need for ongoing education of foodservice workers. Food allergies are on the rise globally and there is currently no cure. Your customers’ lives could be put at risk by eating hidden ingredients that could trigger a severe allergic reaction.
A customer with food allergies who feels understood and who has been adequately cared for, will become your most loyal customer. And remember, your customers are your best and more affordable form of advertising.
Alert! Potential risk of using latex gloves
A small percentage of the general population have severe allergies to latex, the milky sap of the tree Hevea brasiliensis from which natural rubber is manufactured. People who already have allergic conditions like eczema, hay fever, asthma or food allergy are more likely to be part of the small number of people who develop a latex allergy. These people must avoid all contact with latex products, including traces left during food preparation done with latex gloves.
Items made from synthetic rubber , which is manufactured from petrochemicals, do not pose a threat for latex-allergic individuals.
So if a customer asks what type of gloves are used in your outlet, give them an accurate answer. If you don’t know and can’t find out, tell the customer you do not know.
There are many non-latex, single use gloves available so protect your food handlers and customers by using non-latex gloves such as vinyl gloves....
*Osborne et al. Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy using population-based sampling and
predetermined challenge criteria in infants. J Allergy Clin Immunolol 2011; 127: 668-676
Content updated July 2023