Food Allergy Awareness week 2011

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 17th May 2011

New research into food allergy in Australia has alarmingly revealed that 1 in every 10 children is now food allergic. This year during Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW), which runs May 16th – 21st, Anaphylaxis Australia aims to reach those who don’t have food allergies.

“We want to highlight the fact that there is no longer any excuse to not know how serious food allergy is. Gone are the days when food allergy was rare and people denied it was real. Researchers have watched the prevalence rise over the past 10 years. Now it is time for individuals to learn to manage their food allergy whilst everyone in the community does their part in supporting them” said president of Anaphylaxis Australia, Maria Said.

Anaphylaxis Australia said that Australian food manufacturers have been listening to the needs of food allergic consumers and trying their best to improve food manufacturing and safer food choices.

Together with the Allergen Bureau, Anaphylaxis Australia has been instrumental in the establishment of the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL) approach. The new system has led to international accolades, with experts from the USA and Europe praising the developments.

Now, Anaphylaxis Australia says it’s time for the general public to really understand the risks and responsibilities of living with and catering for people with food allergy.

“Because we all need to eat,” says comedian Peter Helliar in Anaphylaxis Australia’s new community service announcement. “Don’t be the odd one out!”

In addition to Helliar, the CSA campaign (on air from May 7th – July 31st), also features former President of the Australian Medical Association Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, and celebrity chef Alex Herbert. Their aim is to help educate the Australian public about the realities of food allergy and anaphylactic reactions.

With only 9 foods responsible for 90% of all food triggered anaphylactic reactions, understanding of food safety remains low in some sectors of the community, with attitudes ranging from misguided and dismissive to overly reactionary and disproportionate to the risks.

Food allergy is manageable, if individuals at risk of anaphylaxis are educated and they have the support of family, friends and all in the community. Awareness of food allergy is key for everyone, since most people now know someone with a potentially life threatening food allergy.