Food Allergy Week – be aware and show you care
Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the world, with more than half a million Australians estimated to have a diagnosed food allergy.
The public health risks associated with allergens can be extremely severe, and the number of vulnerable consumers in Australia is increasing.
Food Allergy Week aims to help increase awareness of food allergy and protect those at risk.
It is a reminder to all food businesses of their responsibility to manage allergens in their products and ensure, where there are allergens in a product, it is prominently communicated so that consumers with food allergies are protected.
Food allergens must be controlled through every stage of food manufacture to prevent the unintended introduction of allergens.
This requires manufacturers to:
- have a thorough understanding of their processing environment and potential cross-contamination points
- know what allergens may be present in their ingredients
- ensure all staff understand the importance of allergen prevention and control.
Food products containing undeclared allergens are now the leading cause of food recalls in Australia.
Correct allergen labelling can mean the difference between life and death for people with food allergies, so it is vital that food businesses meet the labelling requirements of the Food Standards Code (Standard 1.2.3).
In the dairy industry we have a major role to play to ensure we understand the allergen status of our products and clearly communicate this on product labels.