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Be aware of food alergy from nine basic sources

The NSW Food Authority is reminding people to be food allergy aware to mark the beginning of the national Food Allergy Week that runs from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th May.

The Authority’s Chief Scientist Dr Lisa Szabo said that while people with allergies need to be responsible for the foods they eat, everyone has a role in being allergy aware.

“People living with food allergies and their families are generally acutely aware of their condition but they need the support of the wider community and especially that of food businesses,” Dr Szabo said.

“Food allergies can have devastating, even fatal consequences if they are not correctly managed and understood.

“Here in NSW the law requires food businesses to provide accurate information when a customer asks about potential allergens in the food they are served.

“The NSW Food Authority has developed an information booklet ‘Be prepared, be allergy aware, it’s worth the effort’ which is distributed to food businesses through local councils, advising them of their responsibilities when it comes to declaring and managing allergens.

“The NSW Food Authority also plays a role in ensuring food labels in this state comply with national standards so people can be sure they have accurate information about the foods they buy and consume.”

Nine foods are responsible for 90 per cent of food allergy reactions:

  • ·         peanuts                                                  
  • ·         tree nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
  • ·         eggs
  • ·         milk
  • ·         fish
  • ·         crustaceans (shellfish such as prawns and lobsters)
  • ·         sesame
  • ·         soy
  • ·         wheat

Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the world and statistics provided by Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia show that one in ten babies born in Australia today will develop a food allergy.

Further information about food allergies for food service businesses and consumers are available from the NSW Food Authority website or by calling the Helpline 1300 552 406.