All about Allergens for Hospitals
To help hospitals provide appropriate meals to patients with food allergies, the National Allergy Strategy has developed nationally standardised training for food allergen management in hospitals. All about Allergens for Hospitals has been developed in consultation with key stakeholder organisations.
The All about Allergens for Hospitals online training is available free of charge and provides evidence based best practice information to support hospital staff. There are four different courses based on the needs and responsibilities of hospital staff:
- Kitchen managers and supervisors – includes information about best practice procedures for food allergen management in the kitchen.
- Kitchen staff – includes information about how to safely prepare meals for patients with food allergy, including food storage, meal plating and meal delivery.
- Ward managers and nurses – includes information about managing patients with food allergy on the ward and understanding the processes needed to ensure that the right meal is delivered to the right patient with food allergy.
- Ward support staff – includes information about food allergy and how to manage patients with food allergy on the ward.
Additional supporting resources such as sample policies and audit tools are also freely available from the online training website: foodallergytraining.org.au
Food allergen management in hospitals
The National Allergy Strategy has received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to develop a hospital version of the All about Allergens online training. A working group was developed in 2019 and the course is currently being developed. There will be different modules for different hospital staff involved in the preparation and delivery of meals to patients in hospital.
A first step to developing this course was the updating of the National Allergy Strategy resources for the healthcare setting. These have been updated and will underpin the online training course.
Once the hospital version is developed, we aim to develop education resources to support those working in aged care and other healthcare facilities.
Food allergy videos for food allergen management in the home
The National Allergy Strategy has developed a series of short practical videos to help people with allergies and parent to choose appropriate foods (understand food labels for food allergy), prepare food safely and store food safely.
To view the videos, visit: https://foodallergyaware.org.au/community/food-allergy-education/choose-store-and-prepare-foods
New free national food allergy e-training program designed for cooks and chefs
30 July 2019
New National Allergy Strategy e-training courses, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, are now available for cooks and chefs to help improve food allergen management in food service, including camps.
All about Allergens: The next step for cooks and chefs has been developed in conjunction with cooks and chefs with experience in commercial kitchens. It focuses on food preparation, handling and storage and highlights the importance of effective communication between the kitchen and other staff and consumers with food allergy.
Two courses – one for general food service and another for camp providers – have been developed to provide information relevant to the specific settings. The first All about Allergens course should be completed before undertaking the new course for cooks and chefs. See the courses at https://foodallergytraining.org.au
The free online courses aim to provide practical information for cooks and chefs. The National Allergy Strategy has engaged with key stakeholders, including conducting a focus group with chefs, to ensure that resources are developed that will help make managing food allergies easier for food service providers.
In addition to the online courses, supporting resources have also been developed to help food service providers implement appropriate strategies for food allergen management. Templates for food allergy policies, audits and a food allergen menu matrix have been developed along with a food allergen ingredient substitution table. For camps, a template to document camp participant food allergies has also been created.
The National Allergy Strategy is also commencing a food allergy awareness campaign aimed at communicating the shared responsibility when it comes to food allergen management in food service. Consumers, food service providers, legislators and those who conduct inspections and audits of premises, all have a role to play in food allergen management.
Food allergen management in hospitals
New resources to help hospitals and other institution type care to manage food allergies are have been developed and are now available.
The following resources are designed to help hospitals and other institutional facilities to manage food allergy. They are designed to be used together to provide a complete resource kit for food allergen management. They can be freely downloaded and adapted for individual sites.
- Food Allergen Management in Food Service: A Best Practice Guideline developed by Queensland Health in partnership with the National Allergy Strategy.
- Food allergy and intolerance policy template
- Food allergy and intolerance audit tool template
- Food allergy ingredient substitution tool
In addition, a Food Allergy and Intolerance Menu Assessment Tool for dietitians has been developed in partnership with the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). This resource will be freely available to DAA and ASCIA member dietitians from the member’s section of both the DAA and ASCIA websites.
Content updated April 2020
18 November 2016
Whilst we will continue to educate consumers with food allergy and their carers on appropriate management and communication when eating food outside the home, the aim of this initiative is to improve the provision of appropriate food to individuals with food allergy, in the food service sector.
The current situation with no standardised, easily accessible education for food service providers managing food allergy as a food safety issue, continues to impact the health and quality of life of individuals with food allergy and contribute to mismanagement in food service, despite best intentions. Further to this, food provided by food service providers (either in the community, camps or hospital settings) has resulted in preventable food-induced anaphylaxis including recent fatal anaphylaxis cases in Australia.
This strategy will engage with the food service sector through a food service forum for food allergy to discuss the issues and a way forward to improve the provision of appropriate food for individuals with food allergy.
Development of a training course would be developed based on the forum outcomes, the aim being to provide easily accessible standardised education for food service providers across Australia. Consumer education will continue through existing avenues.
The federal government funding will enable discussions with key stakeholder organisations in the food service sector to identify the most effective methods for improving appropriate food provision for individuals with food allergy. These discussions will help inform and enable education resource development.
October 2016 - Food Service Forum for Food Allergy
In October this year, the National Allergy Strategy hosted a Food Allergy Forum for Food Service. The aim of this Forum was to engage with the food service sector to help inform us about the issues faced by the food service sector with regards to food allergy. We also needed guidance from the food service sector regarding the resources needed to assist with education and training of staff and the development of protocols to help guide allergy management. The National Allergy Strategy food service project aims to help the food service sector to cater for individuals with food allergies understanding that both the customer and food service staff have responsibilities.
Facilitator: Gary Kennedy
Gary Kennedy graduated from the School of Food Technology, University of New South Wales in 1984.
He has worked in the meat, transport and cook chill industries and within the healthcare sector, and as a food safety trainer, consultant and lead food safety auditor.
Gary is a Past President of the Australian Cook Chill Council, advising the food service, aged care and acute care industries on food safety, and as a representative of this organisation advised the organising committee on food safety for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Gary is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology and a Life Member of the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare.He has written over 30 papers, and has written or co-written guidelines and codes for the Cook-Chill, Smallgoods, Child Care and, Refrigerated Transport industries; and co-authored the Food Safety Guidelines for the Institute of Hospitality in Healthcare (IHHC).
Gary owns and manages a food safety consultancy and auditing business based in Sydney, Correct Food Systems, providing food safety advice, primarily to small and medium businesses.