Reporting a reaction
Food eaten from a food service provider
- If you have an allergic reaction when eating out or from take away food and you told the staff about your allergy when ordering, it is important to report the food business to your state health department AFTER you have managed the emergency and recovered from the allergic reaction. Even if you have been served your allergen after it was declared, but did not eat the food, this can be reported.
- Investigating a reaction is important as it will help to reduce the risk of the same mistake being made again.
- Make a note of the details of the incident – what was said, where and when it occurred and what meal was consumed (photos are helpful). If you have someone with you, they may be able to help you with this.
- If you have some of the food left that is thought to have triggered the reaction, place it in a clean freezer bag, label it with DO NOT EAT, and freeze it – this is a good way to protect and preserve the sample. This food may be collected by the health department for testing.
- If you have an allergic reaction to a packaged product (and your allergen is not listed on the label), it is important to report the product to the state health department where the product was made or the state health department the food was imported into. You may also wish to contact the company.
- Investigating this reaction may lead to the product being recalled because of an undeclared allergen. Reporting the product reduces the risk of someone else having an allergic reaction to the same product.
- After managing the allergic reaction, keep the remaining food in its packaging and place it in a container labelled as DO NOT EAT. A portion of the remaining food may need to be collected by the health department for testing.
- It is important to keep the original packaging as it contains all the information about the product including the product name, ingredient label, manufacturer/distributor and the batch number.
For more information on reporting a reaction, go to https://allergyfacts.org.au/resources/help-sheets/report-a-reaction-flow-chart
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) lists foods recalled as a result of undeclared allergens on their website and social media pages as they are received from the Australian government. If you subscribe to A&AA’s food recalls, you will also receive an email alert about food recalls due to food allergens.
Content updated October 2021