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It is significant to note that there is a distinct difference between food allergies and food intolerances .

Food allergies what you need to know poster

Food intolerances such as lactose intolerance of dairy products can cause symptoms of gastrointestinal issues and discomfort. While it is significant for people with food intolerances to avoid the consumption of such products, the likelihood of serious, life-threatening reactions is low. You should visit a medical professional if you ponder you are intolerant to a certain food item.

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Restaurant employees need to be aware of both food allergies and food intolerances to ensure a happy, healthy customer.

Many Virginia food establishments are designing menus for diners with food allergies or intolerances. Though these are not every of the sites available, you may search for restaurants in your neighborhood and check their availability of allergy-friendly dining options using the links below.

Food Allergies in the United States

It is estimated that 15 million people own food allergies in the United States. Thats a lot of hungry people that desire to eat out at Virginia restaurants!

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There are numerous foods that can cause an allergic reaction in a person, but the following eight foods account for 90% of every food-related allergic reactions:

  1. Peanuts
  2. Eggs
  3. Crustacean Shellfish (including shrimp, crab and lobster)
  4. Soy
  5. Wheat
  6. Milk
  7. Fish
  8. Tree Nuts (almonds, pecans and walnuts)

Food Allergy Checklists

Dining out should be enjoyable for everyone!

Having a enjoyment meal out with family and friends is a luxury that some Virginians dont get to experience.

People with food allergies are often worried about consuming food in restaurants even if their server claims it is free of the allergen. It is vital that Virginia food establishments take precautions to avoid contaminating foods served to their customers, especially those with allergens.

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Here are some steps for customers with allergies and for food establishment employees to use in order to assist avoid accidental-contamination of food:

Consumer Checklist:

✓ Visit the restaurants website to make certain the menu has items that will suit your diet and taste buds

✓ Call ahead to make certain the restaurant will accommodate your needs- this is a excellent sign of whether a restaurant is properly trained on food allergens

✓ Select a time of day that is less busy to dine at a restaurant- it is less likely for mistakes to occur

✓ Print out a Food Allergy Alert Card which outlines allergens you must avoid

✓ Make your server/ wait staff aware of your allergen and the importance

✓ Enquire to see ingredient lists & prepackaged labels

✓ Avoid buffets as they are more likely to own contact with food allergens

✓ Carry your epinehrine and ensure someone with you knows how to use it

✓ Be an expert on your allergy- no one knows your body & reaction love you do!

✓ Make yourself aware of food allergens, the symptoms of a reaction and what you can do to assist avoid food allergic reactions for your customers

✓ Give specific instructions to your chef/ cooks about food allergens in each party- use Food Allergen Alert Cards

Food Allergen Toolkit

VDH is charged with protecting the public against illnesses caused by food while dining at permitted food establishments.

We can assist in this endeavor by providing restaurant establishments with tools and resources to educate their staff and better establish guidelines for every employees to follow. Here you will discover a Food Allergen Toolkit that includes numerous resources.

Visit the following sites to get up-to-date information on food allergies, resources and support groups:

The Big-8

The Big-8

A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-81 and comprises milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean.

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These foods account for about 90% of every food allergies in the United States and must be declared on any processed food according to the USA food allergen labeling act (FALCPA)1. In addition labeling of the Big-8 is mandatory according to EU, Canadian, Japanese and Australian / New Zealand regulations, every of which follow Codex Alimentarius recommendations.

Allergic consumers may accidentally encounter problem foods as several of the Big-8 (e.g.

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eggs, milk, wheat, and soybean) are often used in processed products and can be «hidden».

For a detailed description of the individual members of this group please follow the links.

Allergy New Zealand

Allergy New Zealand is a national membership-based, not-for-profit society whose primary role is to provide information, education, and support to the numerous thousands of New Zealanders living with allergies, including those at risk of anaphylaxis.

They also represent their interests particularly to government, policy makers and the media, provide information and guidance to the health, education and food sectors, and support research.

Allergy New Zealand also has excellent information regarding Food Allergens specificlly.

"A food allergy is an exaggerated immune system to a food protein and the body triggers an allergic reaction.

Symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea.

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In some cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms, called anaphylaxis, either by breathing difficulties and/or a sudden drop in blood pressure".

If you suffer from Food Allergies we highly reccomend you visit the Allergy New Zealand website.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy, much love any other allergy is caused when a persons body reacts to a substance love it is harmful. The body produces antibodies to fight against the allergen.

The reaction to this process can vary based on the quantity of allergen consumed and the quantity of previous exposures. An allergic reaction to a food allergen can vary from uncomfortable symptoms to a life-threatening experience. Some common symptomsinclude:

  1. Sneeze or cough
  2. Loss of consciousness
  3. Stomach pain
  4. Trouble swallowing
  5. Chest pain
  6. Swelling of lips, tongue or throat
  7. Nausea or vomiting
  8. Hives (swollen, itchy skin irritation)
  9. Shortness of breath
  10. Itchy throat or mouth
  11. Cyanotic (bluish colored skin)

Anaphylaxis means a severe, life threatening reaction to an allergen that is a combination of one or more symptoms above and poses an immediate harm to the life of the person.

It is often associated with a respiratory or cardiac emergency where rapid recognition and reaction is critical.