Packaged Food

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) works in collaboration with key stakeholders in the Australian food industry including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the Allergen Bureau.

In 2002, A&AA welcomed the introduction of the Food Standards Code 1.2.3, requiring mandatory labelling of the top eight allergens, including peanut, tree nuts, egg, milk, sesame, fish, shellfish and soy. Those with Coeliac Disease welcomed the mandatory labelling of gluten in cereals.

In May 2005, the Food Allergen Resource Bureau was launched, a resource providing a centralised collection of information about food allergens, designed specifically for the food industry.

Allergen Bureau link www.allergenbureau.net

The Australian Food & Grocery Council continues to offer its support to A&AA. Its initiative to create the AFGC Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling when the Food Standards Code was implemented was instrumental in alerting the food industry to real issues surrounding food allergens and managing the risks.

A&AA continues to increase food allergy and anaphylaxis awareness and provide information through membership and resources specific to the food industry and food service industry. Information has been disseminated through presentations at seminars, conferences and workshops.  We also welcome invitations to comment on manufacturing practise and food labelling criteria.

Food recalls

A&AA provides information on food recalls to its members, including  a current update on our website.

We encourage food manufacturers to make contact with A&AA as soon as they realise a product has been mislabelled and contains an undeclared allergen. The earlier A&AA is informed, the earlier we can alert members and non-members by listing the recalled product on our Food Recall webpage, helping avoid delays. A&AA members also receive information in our quarterly newsletter however the recall information may be months old by the time this occurs.

For a small fee, A&AA can post a letter directly to our members (including schools, childcare facilities). This overcomes the likelihood of allergic individuals and their carers failing to see food recall notices in newspapers and means those without internet access receive timely information also.  Members of the public can also visit the FSANZ website for food recall information. Allergic individuals can also sign up to receivefood recall information from FSANZ via email.

http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/foodrecalls/

Food alerts

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) encourages food manufacturers to consider allergic consumers when changing a current recipe.  Recipes that sometimes change without warning are a danger to allergic individuals especially if a food that was once safe, suddenly becomes unsafe with the addition of a major allergen. Sometimes a food that once had no allergen warning changes to display a warning. This change sometimes occurs because of a change in ingredient suppliers or a change in the production/packaging line.

A&AA encourages allergic consumers to read food labels including warning statements every time they buy packaged food, however it is good practise for manufacturers to let A&AA know if a product change means a food label change indicating the food is no longer safe for allergic consumers. i.e. introduction of one of the major allergens which require labelling by law, no matter the amount.

GS1 GoScan smart phone app has 8 categories so you can find out what's in your food and make smarter choices on the go. View allergen declarations, with detailed explanations provided by national food and health organisations.

Sydney company fined for failing to declare allergen in cakes

Consumer Watchdog

A&AA is often the first line of contact when consumers experience a food allergic reaction or report labelling inconsistencies. With their assistance, we are able to refer callers to the appropriate government agencies i.e. Food Standards Australia New Zealand, state Health Departments, local Environmental Health Officers.  These agencies assist with product investigation and instigate a consumer level or trade level recall if required.

A&AA has Help Sheets  and a flow chart to assist individuals with reporting an allergic reaction after a food product is consumed. If you have an allergic reaction to  a suspect food please follow instructions on the NEW Report a reaction FLOW CHART ( pdfReport a reaction FLOW CHART579.32 KB) to  help  you report a reaction and get a food or a facility investigated by the health department. Remember: If you don’t disclose your allergy when eating out there is not a lot you can do if you are given food containing the allergen. ALWAYS disclose your food allergy when eating out.

pdfHelp Sheet Calling a Manufacturer195.16 KB

pdfHelp Sheet Packaged foods and reactions701.34 KB

Tell us about your products and manufacturing processes and keep the consumer informed

Does your company have a food labelling policy?
Why do you label a product with a specific statement?

Let us know and we can discuss placing it in our Thumbs Up section of our quarterly NewsFacts or you may consider placing a link from your website to ours to assist food allergic consumers.

People with food allergies are constantly on the lookout for new products they can purchase. And remember, the purchasing power of the food allergic individual extends to family, friends, carers, schools, childcare facilities and more.

Families with a food allergic child tend to purchase products that are safe for the whole family to consume, knowing they are not placing their child at risk and making their home a safer environment. Extended families follow this purchasing pattern too and, once the child starts preschool and school, the food allergic individual impacts a broader circle of institutions’ purchasing and stock control.

We welcome news from food manufacturers about any changes made to packaging, labelling, recipes and ingredients. We are particularly interested in learning about products that have been produced in a dedicated site or an allergen that has been added to a food that was previously free of that allergen.

Our Labelling Goal:

A&AA is working with international alliance group, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Alliance (FAAA), toward  Ingredient labels that will provide reliable and consistent sources of information for individuals who have food allergies.

Objectives

  • Major allergens clearly declared on the ingredient label with no exemptions.

  • Simple language terms used on ingredient labels.

  • Limit the number of precautionary statements and define them in clear terms.

  • Encourage the development of criteria for the use of precautionary allergen statements to minimize their use, ensure that they won't be used in place of good manufacturing practices, and that they always appear immediately following, or adjacent to, the ingredient declaration.

  • Improve communication between industry and the allergic community regarding product alerts.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia hopes that the Australian food industry will join international companies in this endeavour.  The world market is small and the large number of imported goods sold in Australia, means all that all food companies need to work on the issue of allergen labelling at an international level. This will increase safer food choices for allergic consumers and reduce current inconsistencies in allergen labelling regulation and practise. 

Research

A&AA have the largest national database of food allergic consumers. We have conducted in-house research as well as organised research in collaboration with other agencies.

A&AA Survey of members on product labelling, history of reactions and severity

pdfA&AA Full Survey138.13 KB

A&AA has contributed to numerous journals.

Leatherhead Food International

Food Allergy and Intolerance Volume 5 Issue 3 2004

Editorials

Medical Journal of Australia

pdf“May contain traces of . . .”: hidden food allergens in Australia105.28 KB
Maria Said and John M Weiner

Membership

Food manufacturers are invited to join Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia as corporate members, receiving regular, current, science-based information about allergy and its effects on the food allergic individual, their family, friends and school communities as well as the impact on the food manufacturer.

Many food companies continue to join A&AA each year during Food Allergy Awareness Week held annually in May.

We welcome your participation and support.  To become a corporate member click here

Economic impact of allergies (ASCIA)

Content updated June 2016

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