Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing
Senator the Hon. Brett Mason
7 May 2007
Lifesaving Allergy Information Launched today
Allergen information cards that will help protect the 1-2 per cent of all Australians, and particularly the 3-5 per cent of children, who have food allergies were launched today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Brett Mason.
Speaking at the beginning of Allergy Awareness Week, Senator Mason congratulated Anaphylaxis Australia for developing the cards.
“ There are already strict food standards in place that ensure that foods that can cause severe allergic reactions, such as peanuts, tree nuts (for example, cashews, almonds, walnuts), shellfish, fish, milk, eggs, sesame, wheat and soybeans and their products, must be declared on the label however small the amount,” he said.
“However, consumer research, along with the experience of Anaphylaxis Australia, has found that some consumers are not always aware that some ingredients may be allergens; for example, that casein or whey is derived from dairy products or that gluten is derived from wheat.
“These simple allergen cards have been developed by the not-for-profit group Anaphylaxis Australia with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The cards list common ingredients derived from each of the major allergens and also have essential advice for people who are food allergic about eating out, including a reminder to always carry an Epipen. The cards are small enough to fold into a wallet and take shopping.
“Anaphylaxis Australia is also doing some excellent work with the food industry to make allergen labelling clearer; for example, by highlighting allergens in the ingredient list and making ‘may contain’ labelling more useful by more accurate descriptions such as ‘made on the same production line as products with nuts’.
“FSANZ consumer research shows that people have better knowledge about food allergens and how to manage them if they are a member of a group like Anaphylaxis Australia. If you, or a family member, have a food allergy I strongly urge you to join an organisation such as Anaphylaxis Australia,” Senator Mason said.
The allergen cards for egg, soy, wheat, peanuts, sesame, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and milk were developed by Anaphylaxis Australia with funding from Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the NSW Food Authority. They can be ordered from Anaphylaxis Australia at firstname.lastname@example.org or by e-mailing Food Standards Australia New Zealand at email@example.com . Electronic versions are available at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/newsroom/publications/allergencards.cfm
MediaContact: Senator Mason’s Office - Paul McGlew - 0401 991 487
FSANZ - Lydia Buchtmann - 02 6271 2620 or 0401 714 265
Anaphylaxis Australia Inc (AAI) - Maria Said - 0409 609 831