Food businesses get allergen ‘clean bill of health’

Published: Thursday, 11 July 2019 at 8:29:51 AM

Café and restaurant goers with food allergies can rest easier knowing the City has recently begun a Food Sampling Program that tests food and meals labelled allergen free at local food businesses.

The aim of the new Allergen Food Sampling Program is to help ensure food that is labelled as allergen free is correctly identified and communicated to customers.

City of Greater Geraldton CEO Ross McKim said the City’s new Sampling Program is one of the most relevant food testing the City can do for its community.

“Food allergen levels in the population are increasing and we need to stay ahead of this public health issue,” he said.

“It’s really important for the public to be confident they won’t suffer an allergic reaction from simply eating a sandwich or piece of cake they purchased at a local food businesses who claim to sell allergen free meals.

“That’s why the City’s Environmental Health Team has introduced the Program and I am very pleased to report the 12 sampled and tested foods and meals labelled as allergen free were all found to be free from any presence of the labelled allergens.”

The first round of the Program targeted local food business that claim to sell food that is free of certain allergens. Officers acting as ‘mystery customers’  visited businesses and said they were severely allergic or anaphylactic to one or two allergens including gluten, nuts, dairy, soy, shellfish or sesame seeds and purchased foods recommended by staff and labelled as allergen free. These foods were later laboratory tested.

The new Program will complement the City’s ongoing Five Star Food Safety Program, which ranks businesses that meet and maintain strict hygiene criteria.

Stage two in the Sampling Program will involve developing display stickers, similar to the Five Star stickers that will identify food businesses that are allergen aware.

To ensure ongoing community safety, should a member of the community feel a food outlet is incorrectly identifying food allergens, or has suffered a reaction please notify the City on (08) 9956 6600.

Under the Food Act 2008 it is an offense to sell falsely described food to a person who relies on the description, such as claiming food is allergen free when traces of the allergen are present within the food.

Loaves of bread with a sign marking them as gluten free

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