Be Aware. Show you Care.
The Food Allergy Week theme for 2016 is “Be Aware. Show you Care”, from 15-21 May. While people with food allergies are generally well aware of their condition and the steps that need to be taken in order to properly manage it, the week is aimed at educating the wider public of consumers as well as food businesses, so that the community as a whole can be more aware how to handle food allergies more safely.
This is the week to shine a light on how serious an issue food allergies are and to increase and improve the awareness of the public about these matters. It is interesting to note that Australia has one of the highest incidences of food allergies in the world. Statistics by Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia state that one in 10 Australian born babies will develop a food allergy in their lifetime.
What is a food allergy?
A food allergy is an immune system response to a food protein that the body has mistakenly identified as being harmful, which can then trigger a massive reaction in individuals, as the body releases large amounts of chemicals. Symptoms experienced can range from mild to severe, including reactions that can affect breathing, produce hives, swelling of the tongue or dizziness.
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia highlights that there are more than 170 foods that are known to have triggered severe allergic reactions. It is interesting to note that approximately nine foods account for up to ninety percent of food allergy reactions. They are;
- tree nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
- crustaceans (shellfish such as prawns and lobsters)
People with food allergies have to plan ahead in their lives to ensure that they are not caught by surprise. In today’s society, many people are feeling more at ease in asking questions, and being confident in the answers that are being supplied, due to the increased awareness of the greater prevalence and risks that food allergies can pose. The NSW Food Authority has developed several resources for retail food businesses to help in the education of the wider public.