Like any food service provider, early childhood education centres and schools have a responsibility to help parents and children by providing information about food allergens that may be present directly and/or indirectly in food menu items.
The Allergen Collaboration has agreed to a number of key messages for early childhood education services and schools in regard to management of food allergy and these are listed below.
- Implement an effective food allergen management program
- Provide clear, up-to-date and accurate information on the food allergen status of the foods you provide
- Make sure your staff are trained by appropriately qualified people in food allergen risks, management and communication so that they can:
- minimise a child’s exposure to allergens
- ensure staff are always prepared to respond appropriately in case of an allergic reaction, including a potentially life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis)
- ensure children / students with a food allergy are able to participate in the same/slightly adapted educational and recreational activities as their peers
- Staff should be aware of a child’s ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) Action Plan and should prepare an Individual Health Care/Management Plan created in consultation with the parent/caregiver
- Organisations providing food services should undertake training in food allergy management appropriate to food service situations
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy - ASCIA is the peak medical body for allergy and immunology in Australia and New Zealand.
- Online training for schools and early education centres
- ASCIA Action Plans and Treatment Plans
- How to give EpiPen
- Guidelines and position papers
- Dietary avoidance information sheets
Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
- Standard 1.2.3 Information requirements - warning statements, advisory statements and declarations lists the food allergens that must be declared on food labels
- Standard 1.2.1 Requirements to have labels or otherwise provide information requires the information to be provided when food is either packaged or unpackaged.
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia free resources
- Schooling & childcare
- School resources (including national Prep-Year 10 School Curriculum Resources)
- Be a Mate
- Tree nut fact sheets
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia resources for purchase
- 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 and share information with other young people living with food allergy. 250K presentations and bookmarks available.
- All about allergens - this free online training course has been developed to help everyone working in food service including early education centres and school canteens, to manage food allergens.
Allergy New Zealand
In New Zealand, the 2014 Food Act and associated regulations require food businesses (which may include early childhood education centres and schools) to register under a Food Control Plan or National Programme. These include requirements for food allergen management. See the Ministry for Primary Industries website for further information.