Are You Taking Reasonable Precautions?
The Deadly Allergens Part II
As I promised last week, today’s blog from Elevating Food Safety Pty Ltd will provide more detail about each possible reaction.
Allergic reactions can be experienced in various ways:
1. Food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to a certain food protein. Food allergy symptoms are often mild to moderate and include reactions such as:
• Tingling of the mouth
• Hives, welts or body redness
• Swelling of the face, lips and eyes
• Vomiting, abdominal pain
2. Food intolerance is an adverse food induced reaction that does not involve the immune system. An example of this is lactose intolerance. When the person eats milk products, symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain may occur.
3.Eosinophilic esophagitis is an inflammatory allergic reaction of the esophagus, the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach. Eosinophilic esophagitis commonly occurs among those allergic to cow’s milk, soy, eggs, and wheat. It is also often accompanied by other symptoms of an allergic reaction.
4. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) normally affects people who are allergic to some type of pollen. OAS may lead to more severe symptoms and anaphylaxis.
5. Anaphylaxis is defined by a severe allergic reaction. It can be caused by foods – most commonly milk, eggs, wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, sulphites, fish, crustaceans and soy, or insect venom, medication and materials such as latex. Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction and is potentially life threatening. It must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
It is important to understand that even trace amounts of food can cause a life-threatening reaction. Some extremely sensitive individuals can react to even the smell of a food whilst cooking (eg. fish or peanut).
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that includes one or more of the following:
• Difficulty and/or noisy breathing
• Swelling of the tongue
• Swelling or tightness in the throat
• Difficulty talking or hoarse voice
• Wheeze or persistent cough
• Loss of consciousness and/or collapse
• Pale and floppy young children
A severe allergic reaction usually occurs within 20 minutes of exposure to the trigger and can rapidly become life threatening.
An adrenaline auto injector such as the EpiPen is administered promptly when someone shows any signs of a severe allergic reaction which always involves the respiratory and/or cardiovascular system.
At the moment we are seeing at least 4 food safety recalls due to incorrect labelling. How would the individual feel or their parent feel when they read the label, trust it and then suffer from an allergic reaction.
Our consumer will not understand why we are not diligent enough, why we don’t see allergens as a life threatening condition and why we don’t care for their wellbeing.
They would not think for a minute we have budgets to adhere to, we don’t have technical associates in place, we don’t have time to clean the lines effectively and we don’t have time for training. A three million dollar recall and many harmed or injured individuals, potentially even fatalities they would not understand why we didn’t place their needs and safety first.
I don’t think you want to be the one testing the system. Let’s place our hand on our heart and feel for these adults and children, feel for what they go through, feel for those who cannot eat outside of their home as they cannot trust anyone with their life and there are many of these people who have suffered once too often and no longer eat out at all.
Most importantly, we need to make sure the processes and systems are in place, training is carried out, validations are completed, label checks and reviews are in place and effective, internal audits are in place, continuous improvement is in place, trending and monitoring is in place.
Don’t drop the ball, keep focused and make allergens your priority.
Yours in food safety passion, Dijana Green.