The following is a recent media release from the NSW Food Authority and is included here with permission.
NSW food businesses and consumers are urged to be aware of their responsibility when it comes to managing the growing incidence of food allergies in our community during Food Allergy Week, 23 to 29 May 2021.
NSW Food Authority CEO, Dr Lisa Szabo, said the Food Authority supports the life-saving Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) initiative to remind food businesses and consumers of the important role they play when it comes to managing food allergies.
“This year’s A&AA Food Allergy Week theme focuses on eating out with allergies and coincides with the release of an updated Food Authority Be Prepared Be Allergy Aware booklet”, Dr Szabo said.
“Developed for the retail food service sector, it includes new requirements for declaring common food allergens on food labels to help people quickly and easily find the relevant information they need to make informed food safety choices.
“These changes commenced on 25 February 2021 with a transition period, which is outlined in the booklet.
“People living with food allergies are keenly aware of their condition and they need the support of the wider community, both consumers and food businesses alike, in managing it safely.
“Above and beyond caring, it’s also the law for those who sell or manufacture food to provide accurate information and labelling about food allergens that may be contained in their product.
“While food allergies can range from being merely unpleasant and inconvenient, sadly in the worst cases they can be fatal.
“People with food allergy are also responsible for declaring it when eating out and must always carry their EpiPen®, if prescribed.”
Dr Szabo said the NSW Food Authority has programs and initiatives in place to help educate and inform people and businesses about their responsibilities when it comes to food allergies and works to help people safely manage their condition.
“The Food Authority’s website is a great resource for people who live with food allergies, or parents and carers seeking information to help a child diagnosed with food allergies,” she said.
“It includes a dedicated section about food allergies and intolerances which outlines various tips and hints for food shopping or eating out.”
Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the world and statistics show that one in ten babies born in Australia today will develop a food allergy.
More information about food allergies for food service businesses and consumers are available from the NSW Food Authority website www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au or by calling the NSW Food Authority Helpline, 1300 552 406. 406.