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Food Allergens - Knowing What's in Your Food

You must know, and be able to tell your customers what’s in their food so they can make informed choices.
This is especially important for people with food allergies.
You must know what’s in the ingredients you use.
If you are importing food, you must understand the label.
Gluten: Wheat (such as spelt and Khorasen wheat/Kamut), rye, barley and oats is often found in foods containing flour such as some types of baking powder, batter, bread crumbs, bread, cakes, pasta, couscous, meat products, pasta, pastry, sauces, soups and fried foods which are dusted with flour.
Sulphites: This is an ingredient often used in dried fruit such as raisins, dried apricots and prunes. You might also find it in meat products, soft drinks, vegetables as well as in wine and beer. If you have asthma, you have a higher risk of developing a reaction to sulphur dioxide.
Shellfish: Crab, lobster, prawns, and scampi are crustaceans. shrimp paste, often used in Thai and south-east Asian curries or salads, is an ingredient to look out for.
Tree Nuts: Not to be mistaken with peanuts (which are actually a legume & grow underground), this ingredient refers to nuts which grow on trees, like cashew nuts, almonds and hazelnuts. You can find nuts in breads, biscuits, crackers, desserts, nut powders (often used in Asian curries), stir-fried dishes, ice cream, marzipan (almond paste), nut oils and sauces.
Tree Nuts
Eggs are often found in cakes, some meat products, mayonnaise, mousses, pasta, quiche, sauces and pastries or foods brushed or glazed with egg.
Peanuts are actually a legume and grow underground, which is why it’s sometimes called a groundnut. Peanuts are often used as an ingredient in biscuits, cakes, curries, desserts, sauces (such as satay sauce), as well as in groundnut oil and peanut flour.
Fish: You will find this is in some fish sauces, pizzas, relishes, salad dressings, stock cubes and Worcestershire sauce.
Seseme Seeds: These seeds can often be found in bread (sprinkled on hamburger buns for example), breadsticks, houmous, sesame oil and tahini. They are sometimes toasted and used in salads.
Sesame Seeds
Lupin: Yes, lupin is a flower, but it’s also found in flour! Lupin flour seeds can be used in some types of bread, pastries and even pasta.
Soybeans: Often found in bean curd, edamame beans, miso paste, textured soya protein, soya flour or tofu, soya is a staple ingredient in oriental food. It can also be found in desserts, ice cream, meat products, sauces and vegetarian products.
Dairy: Milk is a common ingredient in butter, cheese, cream, milk powders and yoghurt. It can also be found in foods brushed or glazed with milk, and in powdered soups and sauces. It’s often split into casein in curds and BLG in whey.
See detailed descriptions of each allergen...
Food allergies can result in life-threatening reactions that can occur within minutes of eating the food.
Know which foods you sell that can cause allergic reactions.
You need to know about additives and food compositionrules
in the Australia New Zealand Foods Standards Code.

Allergy New Zealand

Allergy New Zealand is a national membership-based, not-for-profit society whose primary role is to provide information, education, and support to the many thousands of New Zealanders living with allergies, including those at risk of anaphylaxis.

They also represent their interests particularly to government, policy makers and the media, provide information and guidance to the health, education and food sectors, and support research.

Allergy New Zealand also has excellent information regarding Food Allergens specificlly.

"A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. In some cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms, called anaphylaxis, either by breathing difficulties and/or a sudden drop in blood pressure".

If you suffer from Food Allergies we highly reccomend you visit the Allergy New Zealand website.

Visit Allergy NZ
Allergy NZ Logo

Food Allergens - MPI

MPI has a wealth of information and resources reagarding food allergens and how they relate to those who make or sell food

MPI - Food Allergens

Managing a food allergy

Most allergic individuals manage their food allergy by avoiding the food that triggers the reaction. Even small amounts of the offending food can cause serious reactions in susceptible individuals.

If you, or your child, are diagnosed with a food allergy you should talk to your doctor about what you can eat. Some people with a food allergy should avoid all sources of that food, while other people can tolerate a small amount of the food allergen, especially if it is cooked.

Research suggests children have a better chance of growing out of a food allergy if they completely avoid the food. To find out whether you are still allergic or have grown out of an allergy, you can be re-tested.

Eating Safely When you have Food Allergies [PDF, 3 MB]

Symptoms of a food allergy

Symptoms of a food allergy range from mild discomfort to severe or life-threatening reactions requiring immediate medical attention. Symptoms include:

Skin problems – hives, eczema, swelling, itching
Respiratory problems – sneezing, asthma, difficulty breathing, cough
Gastrointestinal – swelling and itching of the lips and mouth, vomiting, reflux, colic, diarrhoea, cramps
Circulation problems – low blood pressure, dizziness
Anaphylactic shock – a severe reaction affecting one or more organ systems, for example respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. Swelling of the airways, drop in blood pressure and difficulty breathing are some of the more serious symptoms.

How allergies are identified

Your doctor or specialist will want your reaction history and will probably do a physical examination. There are also tests to help identify a food allergy.

How do you get diagnosed - Allergy NZ Website

Getting professional help

Health professionals that can help are
General practitioner (GP) or family doctor
Allergy specialist or paediatrician. You'll need a referral from your GP unless you are in Auckland or Christchurch where there are private allergy specialists
Dietitian. To see a public hospital dietitian requires a referral from your GP. Otherwise see a private dietitian.

Knowing whats in your food - Allergens

Food safety toolkit

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