Nut allergies are considered to be one of the biggest food-related threats in Australia, and with Easter just around the corner, consumers craving chocolate may need to be cautious with their choices.
Recently, Target Australia has been forced to recall Easter treats in the form of Klett and Target brand chocolate bunnies on a national scale, due to the possible presence of undeclared allergens.
According to information provided on the recall, the warning statement on the product labels only refers to "shell fruit", rather than peanuts or tree nuts, which could lead to confusion in people with allergies.
Australia is Nuts for Nut Allergies
Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted into the allergies most persistent across Australia, showing that the country holds a particularly high prevalence of peanut allergies. 3 in every 100 children in Australia suffer from peanut allergies and experience mild, moderate, or even severe responses. Whilst around 20% of children grow out of the allergy, the remainder continue to experience adverse symptoms for the duration of their lifetimes.
Generally, it can be safer for those who suffer from peanut allergies to avoid all nut products entirely, as peanuts can be stored alongside tree nuts, leading to a possibility of cross-contamination. What's more, research suggests that around 30% of Australians with peanut allergies are actually allergic to both tree nuts and peanuts.
Although peanut allergies tend to be noticed most commonly in young children and infants, it is possible to recognise the first signs of such allergies in adulthood, and around 20% of all cases grow more severe over time.
The Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction
Regardless of what you're doing this Easter, if you have a serious allergy, then you should be aware of the symptoms so that you know when to request medical help. Some of the most common symptoms of food allergies typically include problems such as:
- Swelling around the mouth
- Stomach pain
Generally, these symptoms will appear within approximately 30 minutes of consuming the allergen product.
Symptoms of severe allergic reactions, otherwise known as anaphylaxis, can affect a person's breathing or heart and can include difficulty breathing, the swelling of the tongue or throat, difficulty talking, dizziness, and coughing.
Deaths from Nut Allergies in Australia
Deaths as a result of anaphylaxis are relatively rare in Australia, however severe reactions do occur frequently. The most common foods for causing life-threatening anaphylaxis are peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. An examination of coroners reports found that 112 deaths could be attributed to anaphylaxis between 1995 and 2007.
It is currently estimated that there is approximately one death for every 200 episodes of peanut-related anaphylaxis within Australia.