There are a few common allergies and intolerances that most people in foodservice will have come across before, including; gluten intolerance, peanut allergy and lactose intolerance. There are many others though as well. It’s vital to the success of your business and the health of your customers that you know what is in the food you serve and how you can change it to suit the needs of your customers.
Food intolerance and allergies have different causes but similar symptoms. Food intolerance occurs when the body is unable to properly digest certain foods, whereas food allergies occur when the body reacts to a certain food with an immune response.
If you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly attacks a substance, usually a protein, found in particular foods. Fortunately, food allergies are rare (only 1–2% of the world’s population are affected), although they can be very severe and in some cases cause death. The best way to avoid a food allergen is to avoid the food or foods that contain it.
Some foods are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. Some examples are listed below;
As even the tiniest amount of allergen can cause an allergic reaction it is extremely important you know what is in the food you offer.
If your body can’t digest a particular type of food, this can make you feel unwell – this is food intolerance. Food intolerances are not usually life-threatening, although can be extremely uncomfortable. Symptoms of food intolerance can include nausea, bloating, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Tips and information to aid food preparers manage risks around allergens in the foods they produce
The following resources regarding food allergies are available to download in PDF format:
The Ministry for Primary Industries has plenty of information on food allergies and intolerances, follow these links for:
The Gluten free and allergy show runs annually in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Visit their website for more information.