Food Allergies on the Rise
The frequency of food allergy has increased over the past 30 years, particularly in industrialised societies. Food allergy now affects about 7% of children in the UK and 9% of those in Australia. Across Europe, 2% of adults have food allergies.
Life-threatening reactions can be prompted even by traces of the trigger foods, meaning patients and families live with fear and anxiety. A study undertaken by Kings College in London found there was in the UK between 1995 and 2016. Australia has one of the highest rates of confirmed food allergy. found 9% of Australian one-year-olds had an egg allergy, while 3% were allergic to peanuts. It is thought that allergies and increased sensitivity to foods are probably environmental, and related to Western lifestyles. Factors may include pollution, dietary changes and less exposure to microbes, which change how our immune systems respond.
There is currently no cure for food allergy, and managing the condition relies on avoiding the offending foods and on an emergency treatment plan in case of exposure. In the UK, about ten people die every year from food-induced anaphylaxis.
The identification and clear communication of allergens is vital for food business to safeguard customer health and safety. Failure to do so can prove fatal.
Foods ingredients that must be declared as an ingredients are:
- Cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan wheat), rye, barley, oats
- Crustaceans for example prawns, crabs, lobster, crayfish
- Nuts; namely almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia (or Queensland) nuts
- Celery (including celeriac)
- Sulphur dioxide/sulphites, where added and at a level above 10mg/kg in the finished product. This can be used as a preservative in dried fruit
- Lupin which includes lupin seeds and flour and can be found in types of bread, pastries and pasta
- Molluscs like clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid
It is vital that all food business are aware of their legal requirements around allergen identification and communication. Please refer to the following link for further information.
The EHAI Primary Food Safety Level 2 Course provides food workers with the necessary practical skills and knowledge in food safety. Find a course that suits you at