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Food allergens – information for consumers

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Food allergies can be life threatening. The only way to manage a food allergy is by avoiding the food allergen.

If you suspect you or someone you care for has a food allergy, you should contact a doctor so you can be referred to a clinical immunology / allergy specialist or doctor with experience in food allergy for diagnosis and ongoing management.

The Allergen Collaboration has agreed to a number of key messages for consumers in regard to food allergy. These are listed below.

 

  • You should be referred to a clinical immunology / allergy specialist or doctor with experience in food allergy for accurate diagnosis and ongoing management 
  • Always check food labels for food allergens every time you eat or when you purchase or order foods 
    • Tell your friends that you have food allergy, explain signs and symptoms and emergency treatment. Show them where you keep your emergency medication and how to administer it 
      • Always disclose your food allergy and clearly ask about food allergen content when eating away from home (tell wait staff about your specific food allergy and do not simply ask if a food item has the food allergen in it) 
        • Always be vigilant when planning to eat or when purchasing food, especially in high risk situations where food may be inadvertently cross contaminated with food allergens by other customers (e.g. buffet meals, bulk bin food containers, etc.)
        •  Always carry your adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector if you are prescribed one and be prepared to use it 

  • Always carry your ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) Action Plan that has been completed and signed by your doctor and know what to do if you have a reaction 
  • If you have food allergies that are challenging to manage when eating out, consider calling the venue ahead and asking about the possibility of taking your own food. Note that the venue may not heat or cool the food on arrival, so consider these factors when taking your own food 

Resources 

Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy - ASCIA is the peak medical body for allergy and immunology in Australia and New Zealand.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Australia 

National Allergy Strategy resources

  •  250K.org.au - online hub for pre-teens and teens, developed by young people for young people living with severe allergy to find information and share information with other young people living with food allergy.

  • Food allergy education - a community education website with practical information about how to manage food allergy. 

Nuts for Life

 New Zealand

 

Allergy New Zealand 

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

  •  Information about making a claim

Ministry for Primary Industries

 
 
  • You should be referred to a clinical immunology / allergy specialist or doctor with experience in food allergy for accurate diagnosis and ongoing management
  • Always check food labels for food allergens every time you eat or when you purchase or order foods
  • Tell your friends that you have food allergy, explain signs and symptoms and emergency treatment. Show them where you keep your emergency medication and how to administer it
  • Always disclose your food allergy and clearly ask about food allergen content when eating away from home (tell wait staff about your specific food allergy and do not simply ask if a food item has the food allergen in it)
  • Always be vigilant when planning to eat or when purchasing food, especially in high risk situations where food may be inadvertently cross contaminated with food allergens by other customers (e.g. buffet meals, bulk bin food containers, etc.)
  • Always carry your adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector if you are prescribed one and be prepared to use it
  • Always carry your ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) Action Plan that has been completed and signed by your doctor and know what to do if you have a reaction
  • If you have food allergies that are challenging to manage when eating out, consider calling the venue ahead and asking about the possibility of taking your own food. Note that the venue may not heat or cool the food on arrival, so consider these factors when taking your own food

Australia

New Zealand

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