From 1 November 2018, all anaphylaxis presentations to hospital emergency departments in Victoria must be notified to the Department of Health and Human Services.
This is in response to a recommendation in a Victorian coronial report on the death of a child from anaphylaxis.
The cause of anaphylaxis in this case was a food product that did not declare the presence of dairy products, despite being required to under food labelling legislation.
Food authorities were not alerted to the product, and it remained on the market for a further six weeks.
The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and associated regulations were amended to require these notifications of anaphylaxis presentations (all causes) to hospital emergency departments.
Approximately 60 per cent of these presentations are food related.
In its first week of operation, the notification system identified an undeclared allergen in packaged food.
The department's Food Safety Unit was able to conduct a food recall, promptly removing this product from the market and reducing the risk to community members with allergies.
With approximately 2,500 presentations of anaphylaxis to emergency departments every year (and increasing at 15 per cent per year), the system is expected to assist in reducing the risk of undeclared allergens in food in the marketplace.
It will also provide a rich source of data to support future activities to address the growing public health issue of allergies.
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Reviewed 11 March 2023