Food allergies can be life threatening!
When people with food allergies ask about ingredients in food, be sure to check with the chef or check the ingredients list. If the chef left for the day, is on break and you cannot locate the ingredients list. Be honest and say that you cannot be sure. Never guess what is in the food.
Most Common Food Allergies
- Milk (mostly in children)
- Tree nuts, like walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans.
- Wheat and other grains with gluten, including barley, rye, and oats.
- Fish (mostly in adults)
- Shellfish (mostly in adults)
Video about Food Allergies
If you can’t be sure just say you aren’t sure.
Guessing could risk causing anaphylaxis, or death. Anaphylaxis is a rare but severe allergic reaction. It can occur suddenly, can worsen quickly and can be deadly.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
Symptoms can vary for different people, and can be different from one reaction to the next.
- Skin: hives, swelling, itching, warmth, redness, rash
- Breathing (respiratory): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness/swelling, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing
- Stomach (gastrointestinal): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
- Heart (cardiovascular): pale/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizzy/lightheaded, shock
- Other: anxiety, feeling of “impending doom”, headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste in mouth
During anaphylaxis, a person may have trouble breathing or experience a drop in blood pressure. These symptoms can lead to death if not treated.
Canadian student dies after ordering smoothie on campus; suffers severe allergic reaction
Andrea Mariano, an 18-year-old student from Thornhill, Ont. had just started studying at Queen’s University in the Faculty of Arts and Science. It was her second day of her first-year of university.
She suffered from an anaphylactic reaction
She ordered a smoothie and suffered an anaphylactic reaction and was rushed to the hospital where she later died. Andrea was allergic to peanuts and dairy, according to her family. All her life she had been very particular about declaring that she had an allergy to peanuts, and that she was deathly allergic to peanuts and allergic to dairy.
On that day, Andrea did something she never did, she was not carrying one of her two auto-injectors with her, according to her family, the injectors carry the drug epinephrine. Doctors reported that even if she had both EpiPens with her, it was that severe, whatever it was that she had ingested… this was inevitable. Her family hopes her death will raise awareness about severe food allergies, safe food handling and cross-contamination. Read the full article
According to Allergy Canada the number of Canadians who have a severe food allergy is rising
Deaths from food allergies are rare. As a Safe Food Handler you need to understand how severe food allergies can be and know what the correct procedures are in order to avoid harming the public. Click here for our Food Handler Training Schedule
Approximately 2.5 million Canadians have at least one food allergy, and 300,000 Canadian children under the age of 18 have food allergies. Food Allergy Canada educates, supports and advocates for the needs of people living with food allergies and the risk of anaphylaxis.
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