Food SafetyFood Safety ProgramsApril 30, 2022by Gillian Van Someren-Hurley0Allergen Management in kitchens such as aged care and hospitals

In Australia the following allergens must be declared on a food label. These allergens are the most common foods in Australia that could cause a reaction.

  • Added sulphites in concentrations of 10 mg/kg or more
  • Any of the following cereals (if they contain gluten: barley, oats, rye)
  • Wheat
  • Any of the following tree nuts: almond, brazil nut, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnut
  • Crustacea
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Mollusc
  • Peanut
  • Sesame See
  • Soybean

Note that some residents or patients may also experience mild allergic symptoms to fresh fruits and vegetables such as kiwi, applies, peaches, melons, pineapple and papaya.

As a food business providing food to vulnerable persons control measures should be implemented to to ensure residents or patients are not served a meal that contains an allergen that could cause a severe reaction.

Managing allergens

  • Have a system in place for identifying residents or patients with any food related allergies upon admission to the facility
  • Have a system in place to identify the allergens that are on site including those that are present in dry ingredients. This includes products that have a label with an allergen declaration or allergen warning such as ‘may contain’
  • Design the menu to reduce the risk of allergens and where possible, have an allergen-free alternative meal
  • Have standard recipes in place for all food processed on site, these should be able to accessed by all staff if required
  • Have a system in place to identify the allergens that are removed from the original packaging (controls such as stickers, taking a photo of the label with the allergen information and storing it for reference)
  • Store products that contain allergens in a manner that will not contaminate allergen free products
  • Have a system in place to identify allergens in prepared meals such as sandwiches, desserts and main meals (specifically if they are going to servery areas for plating)
  • Have a system in place to identify allergen free meals such as tray labels or stickers
  • Have a system in place to control allergen spills

Cross contact controls

  • Practice good hygiene prior to preparing an allergy free meal: thorough handwashing and wearing a clean apron
  • Clean and sanitise the work area
  • Prepare allergen free meals prior to meals containing allergens
  • Use clean and sanitised equipment for preparing and serving allergen free meals


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