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Information for people with food allergies
People with food allergies must avoid the food they are allergic to, to prevent having a reaction. Even a trace amount, if eaten, can cause a reaction.
They therefore rely on food businesses (food manufacturers and food services) to give them accurate information on whether a food for sale has their food allergen in it or not.
There are regulations* in New Zealand which require food businesses to provide information about food allergens to consumers, either on labels or on request. Food businesses must also have good food-allergen management procedures so they can ensure their information is accurate. However, they do not have to provide allergen-free food, and it is up to the consumer to make the decision, based on the information provided, whether a food is safe for them or not.
*Current regulations that apply are under the 2014 Food Act and the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Code. These are administered in New Zealand by the Ministry of Primary Industries/Food Safety (link to https://mpi.govt.nz/nzfoodsafety/).
Food allergens that must be declared
There are 10 food allergens which must be declared if they are intentionally in a food for sale as an ingredient, processing aid, or an additive (or a compound of any of these). The foods are listed in the Food Code Standard 1.2.3 clause 4 as:
The Allergy New Zealand 2018 Food Allergen Labelling Guide.
Undeclared allergens and making a complaint
If you are concerned a food product has an undeclared allergen in it, or the label or information provided is misleading in some way, you can make a complaint to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). Call MPI’s consumer food safety line on 0800 00 83 33 or email email@example.com
You can also contact Allergy New Zealand if you need any advice about allergen labelling and making complaints – call 0800 34 0800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
MPI may issue a food recall if a complaint is upheld. You can subscribe to MPI’s email alerts for all food recalls by going to http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/subscribe-to-mpi/
The Allergen Collaboration
A coalition of New Zealand and Australian representatives from regulators, food industry and food service organisations, the Allergen Collaboration is chaired by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). Allergy New Zealand and Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia represent consumers. Its purpose is to promote best practice in food allergen management for the safety and well-being of consumers with food allergies.
The Collaboration has established a portal with resources available for industry, consumers, education and health professionals and government agencies to use; a free training video for food service staff; and promotes key messages about food allergen management for various sectors throughout the food chain.
Hospitality training video
Developed by Allergy New Zealand on behalf of the Allergen Collaboration.
Under Australian and New Zealand law, food service suppliers must display information about food allergens in connection with the display of the food or provide this information to the customer on request. This is so that customers can make informed choices when ordering and buying food in their establishment. In New Zealand, the regulations under the 2014 Food Act require food service providers to implement a food allergen plan, to provide customers with accurate information on allergen content.
Tips for restaurants and cafes
Tips for front of house and wait staff
Tips for the chef
Page last reviewed August 2018
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Allergy New Zealand Inc © 2018