Food Allergen Management Guide for School Canteens (2018)
When preparing food, it is essential to consider food allergy.
School canteens can make food selection from the canteen a safer, positive experience for students with food allergy. There are several things that can be put in place to make sure students with food allergy are able to purchase appropriate food from the school canteen. These strategies will also support staff with food allergy.
This Guide includes frequently asked questions and explains the 4 key strategies to food allergy management in school canteens:
1. Know what’s in your food
2. Be 100% truthful
3. Prepare food safely
4. Understand the consequences.
This Guide was developed by National Allergy Strategy, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and the Western Australian School Canteen Association Inc, supported by the Western Australian Departments of Health and Education.
Download the Food Allergen Management Guide for School Canteens.
New training specifically for canteen staff and volunteers: All about Allergens for schools
There are school specific resources located on the All About Allergens Resource Hub such as
- menu matrix
- Food allergen ingredient substitution tool
- Standardised recipe template.
Food allergy management
New video resources have been developed by the National Allergy Strategy to help parents, carers and people with allergies to select, prepare and store food safely in the home. The videos can also provide additional support to canteen staff who require further allergy information. This series of seven short videos provides practical advice on:
- food storage
- food preparation and separation
- food labels: what must be included, unlabelled foods and precautionary labels.
Head to the Food Allergy Aware website for access to the video series.
Identifying food allergens on product labels
- Food allergens can be present in many food ingredients and are not always obvious from their name.
- While the new law requires companies to use the plain English name (e.g. egg instead of ovalbumin), labels meeting the old laws can still be used for up to 5 years.
- Therefore, it is important to know the different names for food allergens. For example, “casein” in the ingredients list means that milk is in the food and “albumin” means that egg is in the food.
- It is important that the staff member responsible for checking food labels or making decisions about which ingredients are used in recipes has a good understanding of reading food labels for food allergens including the different ingredient names.
- Read all ingredient information on the packaging, not just allergy summary statements.
You can download allergen cards from Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia to see the alternate words for food allergens in ingredients lists: https://allergyfacts.org.au/resources/allergen-cards
Managing food allergy and food safety and hygiene in school canteens is essential.
FOCiS together with National Allergy Strategy and Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia have developed a quick reference poster for display in school canteens.
Each of the four steps in the Food allergy in school canteens poster links to the All About Allergens training.
The Food safety in school canteens poster contains five simple steps to ensure food prepared and sold in the school canteen in done so safely. This poster has been endorse by Environmental Health Australia.
Both posters can be downloaded as high resolution copies from the FOCiS website.