What are the Most Common Food Allergies in Australia?

A food allergy is when eating a particular food harms a person’s immune system and can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. Some food allergy symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, a swollen airway, hives, itching, rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, weakness, and lowered blood pressure.
When preparing and cooking food for other people, it is important to know about common food allergies and to practice food safety measures to ensure that nobody has an adverse reaction to the food.

Here are five of the most common food allergies that Australians have:

  • Wheat

A wheat allergy causes a person’s immune system to react adversely to wheat proteins. A wheat allergy can cause anaphylaxis and be life-threatening in the worst-case scenario.

  • Peanuts

A peanut allergy might be the most common food allergy that you’ve heard of. People can have mild or severe symptoms from eating peanuts or even from minimal contact with peanuts. Some peanut allergies are so severe that even touching peanuts could lead to life-threatening reactions.

  • Tree Nuts

Tree nuts include nuts like walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, and more. Nut allergies are the most common food allergies in the world.

  • Shellfish

Shellfish include mollusks like octopus and squid and crustaceans like crab, prawns, lobster, and shrimp. Even minimal contact with shellfish can cause severe reactions, so it is essential to be careful and avoid cross-contamination when preparing food.

  • Milk

A milk allergy is different from lactose intolerance. A milk allergy means that the immune system reacts adversely when exposed to the proteins in milk. On the other hand, lactose intolerance is when the body does not produce lactase, a lactose digesting enzyme. People with milk allergies have to use milk substitutes like soy milk or almond milk.

As someone with common food allergies, checking food product labels and ingredients is very important. For foods that people have severe allergies to, like peanuts and tree nuts, prepared foods may say something like “may contain traces of …” on the label. This means that even if peanuts or tree nuts are not active ingredients, there may be some risk of cross-contamination.

Proper knowledge and training on food safety can help you prepare, store, and cook your food in a way that keeps you safe. Food safety courses can help you in gaining this knowledge. The Australian Institute of Accreditation offers one of the best food safety supervisor courses in Melbourne. Visit our website for more information about the course.

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