Food Allergies

This video covers Food Allergies and Intolerances, including the symptoms, anaphylaxis and common allergens. The responsibilities of food handlers when it comes to food allergies are also discussed.

This video covers Food Allergies and Intolerances, including the symptoms, anaphylaxis and common allergens. The responsbilities of food handlers when it comes to food allergies are also discussed. 

The video above is an extract from the AIFS Food Safety Supervisor course, please visit the course page for more information. 

Australia has some of the highest food allergy and intolerance levels in the world. It is estimated that, in Australia, 1 in 20 children and 1 in 200 adults have a food allergy. An estimated 25% of adults are expected to have a food intolerance. Food allergies, in many cases, are uncomfortable or annoying, but some can be very serious and lead to anaphylactic shock – which in turn may even lead to death.

Some of the symptoms of food allergies are:

  • swelling of the lips, throat or mouth
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • dry, itchy throat or tongue
  • wheezing and shortness of breath
  • itchy skin or a rash
  • anaphylaxis symptoms may be experienced individually or combined.

Anaphylaxis is a very severe reaction and requires immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone is having an anaphylactic reaction, call an ambulance immediately. Symptoms may include:

  • Rapid spreading of hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face, tongue and throat
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

Some foods are well known as common allergens. These are:

  • Peanuts
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soy beans

Be very careful when working with these products that you do not cross contaminate other foods.

As a food handler, you must know all ingredients of all items on the menu in the food business where you work. Foods that may cause an allergic reaction must be advised either on the package of the food, or at the request of the customer.

Labelling of foods is regulated by Standard 1.2.3 of the Food Standards Code. If the food that you produce contains one of the ingredients listed in this standard then you may be required to include one of the following on your food labels:

  • Mandatory warning statement
  • Mandatory advisory statement
  • Mandatory declaration