NSW Food Authority underlines importance of allergy awareness
The NSW Food Authority has announced its support of last week’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, 16-22 May, in an effort to remind consumers and industry of the importance of understanding the role of food labels in protecting against allergic reaction.
“The Food Act and Food Standards Code also requires all food businesses in NSW, including cafes and restaurants, to provide information about the ingredients contained in their food,” said NSW Food Authority CEO Alan Coutts.
Food businesses are required to display information about allergens next to food provided for sale or provide information about food allergens contained in food if requested by a customer.
Coutts said NSW food businesses needed to understand that mislabelling of food would not be tolerated.
“Just last month the NSW Food Authority fined a company almost $10,000 for falsely labelling food that contained peanuts.”
“The law requires the main eight food allergens be declared on the food label and we will continue to enforce that requirement”.
“While many people are aware of food allergies, they may not have an understanding of just how devastating and far reaching the impact of food allergies can be,” said Coutts.
“Allergic reactions can range from mild to extreme, and in the worst instance can lead to death. It is vital for people living with food allergies to be able to rely on food labels to accurately assess the risk.”
There are eight food groups that account for up to 90 per cent of all allergic reactions to food:
- Peanuts and peanut products
- Tree nuts and tree nut products
- Egg and egg products
- Milk and milk products
- Fish and fish products
- Crustacea and their products
- Sesame seeds and their products
- Soybeans and their products
“Knowledge is power, and the consumers of NSW have every right to make their food choices safe in the knowledge they are labelled truthfully and correctly.
Anyone with a concern about food labelling is urged to contact the NSW Food Authority Helpline on 1300 552 406.