More and more people, and especially children, are having allergic reactions to certain foods – in fact food allergies among children have increased by 50% over the past 15 years!
The number of children being hospitalized for severe reactions, has increased sevenfold over the past decade.
The number of adults with food allergies is also growing but there is no clear answer as to why. This is a serious problem as it can lead to illness and in some cases even death.
It is the Allergy Foundation of South Africa’s mission to train and educate both the public, and those who serve them – such as schools and food suppliers.
AFSA, in conjunction with FACTS (Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services) and Competence Online, are launching Food Allergy Safety Training for which participating companies will be awarded various levels of the AFSA seal of approval.
The Food Allergen Safety Training for establishments providing food to the public, seeks to protect the health of people with food allergies by providing practical information and strategies for Food Handlers while reinforcing Government Regulations and guidelines.
The programme will provide awareness around the common food allergens, guide improvements to existing practices and address the implementation of food allergy management policies in the establishment.
Implementing these guidelines may help food production/supply establishments to reduce allergic reactions, improve response to life-threatening reactions, and protect children and adults with food allergies.
The digital training will be hosted on the AFSA Learning Management System, is designed to be easily accessible across devices and operating systems. Materials such as certificates, Allergen Tables, Allergen Checklists, Front of House and Back of house Posters and mobile applications – will support the training interventions. In addition, establishments would benefit from the marketing spin-off of the right to display the AFSA Seal of Approval – which would inform sufferers that they are ‘Allergen Aware’.
A brief overview of the 3 AFSA Seal of Approval Tiers
- Silver AFSA Seal – Basic Allergen Awareness Module aimed at food operatives – approximately 15 minutes duration. For an establishment to gain the Silver AFSA Seal, at least 80% of their staff must be trained.
- Gold AFSA Seal – More in-depth Allergen Awareness training of approximately 60 minutes, aimed at Managers, Chefs and FOH staff – including the basics of setting up an Allergen Management System.
- Platinum AFSA Seal –For those with an active, audited, fully functional Allergen Management System in place.
Participating food supply establishments will be listed on the AFSA website – and included in the monthly AFSA newsletter and Facebook posts. In addition, a mobile application informing sufferers of ‘Allergen Aware’ establishments is in development. All AFSA Seal holders will be included in the application – which would direct sufferers and their families to their establishments.