Food allergens

Food allergies can cause a severe reaction which is called Anaphylaxis.

Many substances can cause an allergy and as a result there is a National Allergy Strategy.

Food businesses should be aware of the requirements and obligations surrounding food allergies and intolerances.

The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code requires that certain foods must be listed on food packaging or be available to customers when requested.

Allergen and intolerance fact sheets for businesses have been developed by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to assist food businesses to identify food allergens and implement plans when handling and preparing food allergens.

Common allergens in food include:

  • milk, other than alcohol distilled from whey
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • sesame seeds
  • tree nuts, other than coconut from the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera
  • lupin
  • added sulphites in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more
  • gluten
  • crustacea
  • egg
  • fish, except for isinglass derived from swim bladders and used as a clarifying agent in beer or wine.

Training and resources

DHHS together with Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia have recently developed a free on line training resource for food businesses. All about Allergens online training aims to provide fast, easy and free access to accurate and consistent training for all staff working in food service.

There are also booklets and resources designed to support the All about Allergens online training.

The Allergen Bureau represents food industry allergen management in Australia and New Zealand and has resources for businesses and offers membership.

Food labelling requirements should be followed by food businesses to ensure that your food is labelled correctly.

Some posters are available on the Food Safety Victoria website:

Our Environmental Health Unit can assist all registered food businesses with allergens and labelling information.

Page last updated: Thursday, 12 August 2021