Food allergies occur in about 1 in 10 infants, 1 in 20 children and 1 in 50 adults. A food allergy is an immune response to a food protein that a person’s body perceives as harmful.
Exposure, further contact or consumption can lead to an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can occur within minutes or hours of ingestion or exposure. A reaction can involve mild to moderate symptoms such as hives, swelling, tingling in the mouth, vomiting or abdominal pain. Some food allergies can be severe, and some allergic reactions can be life-threatening or fatal - known as anaphylaxis.
There are at least 170 foods that can trigger an allergic reaction. The most common are:
While the consumer is responsible for their own health, a food business is legally required to comply with the Food Standards Code, which specifies food allergy requirements. Everyone in the business needs to be aware of the risks food allergies pose, and be clear on how to identify and manage them and become allergy aware. It is important to: