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Best practice resources funded by the
Australian Government Department of Health.

If you are an employee with a food allergy

  • Tell your employer about your food allergy before you start work, so they can put things in place to reduce the risk of a reaction. They can also organise anaphylaxis training for relevant staff.

  • Check if the workplace has guidelines or policies about managing allergies.

  • Choose which workmates to tell about your food allergy.   It is a good idea to tell colleagues that you work closely with, about your food allergy.

    • Medical information is confidential, your employer cannot tell your colleagues about your food allergy unless you give them permission. But you can tell them yourself.

  • You may choose to wear some form of medical identification bracelet or necklace.

  • Make sure you always have an adrenaline (epinephrine) injector and ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis with you in the workplace and easy to get to.  

    • Take it with you if you go out of the workplace for lunch, meetings or other work activities.

    • Let your supervisor and chosen workmates know where you keep them.

  • Tell your workmates how to recognise an allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) and show them how to give you your adrenaline injector if you need it.

    • Show them your ASCIA Action Plan and how to follow the steps.

  • Talk with the workmates you work closely with about what they can do when they are eating and drinking to reduce the risk of you having a reaction.

  • Explain to them about cross contamination and how it can happen easily in work spaces, especially in the kitchen with shared equipment.

  • Talk about keeping common areas free from food allergens by adopting good cleaning practices.

  • Explain how washing their hands thoroughly after eating food, and wiping down kitchen benches with a clean cloth will reduce the risk of residue from food allergens being left behind. Let them know that sanitisers do not remove food allergen residue.

  • Ask if they are happy to dedicate a shelf in the fridge for those who have food allergies.

  • Ask workmates not to eat at your workstation or other areas in the workplace where you work, including communal cars.

  • Thank your workmates for their support.

To keep yourself safe:

  • Make sure you always have your medication and that you or your workmates can get to it easily.

  • Label your food and drink with your name and store it in a sealed container.

  • If dishwashing detergent and clean cloths are not readily available think about bringing your own crockery and cutlery from home.

  • If you share a desk with another person, ask them not to eat at the desk.

  • In a workplace where food is not readily available or has a limited canteen, bring your own food from home.

  • When shared food is brought into the workplace for a special occasion such as a birthday or farewell gathering, bring in snacks so that you can be part of the celebration, in case your food allergy has not been catered for.

Keeping yourself safe at work functions or events:

  • For workplace meetings or events that are catered for, speak with the person who is organising the catering or directly with the caterer to tell them about your allergy. Do this as soon as you know the event is happening so there is plenty of time for the organiser and caterer to plan your meal.

  • Request a specific meal be provided for you at the event. Avoid buffets because they are high risk for people with allergies due to cross contamination.

  • When you arrive at the venue make yourself known to serving staff so the correct food can be provided to you.

  • Make sure you have been given the correct meal.

  • If you are not confident in the food you are being served, do not eat it. Bring your own food or snacks from home just in case.

  • Consider having a light meal before the event if you are worried about what food is being served.

Remember, whilst at work don’t sacrifice your safety. Your allergy is invisible until something happens. Tell your workmates about your allergies, and help educate people within the workplace to help create a safe work environment.

For further information about managing food allergy in the workplace, visit Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia.


Workplace Catering Poster   Workplace Catering Checklist

Content created May 2024.