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Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia:Access to food/medication/product update - 24 March

Galah88
posted 24-3-2020 @ 03:32 PM www
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia:Access to food/medication/product update - 24 March

Access to food/medication/product update - 24 March 2020
Main points
A&AA continues to advocate on your behalf
People with a Health Care Card can join the shopping hour dedicated to the elderly and disabled
Stock of foods for people with special dietary needs is available, but retailers are having difficulty getting required stock to their stores
Challenges for retailers are in transport of food from manufacturers to distribution centres and retail grocery stores
Free from food manufacturers and what they are doing
Online shopping for free from foods
Be considerate in your purchases of food, medication and products
In response to our members and followers informing us that they are having difficulty accessing allergy friendly foods and beverages, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia has been communicating with individuals/families managing food allergy, retailers such as Coles, Woolworths and Metcash and manufacturers of allergy-friendly foods to understand more about the current challenges in access to allergy friendly food and products.

We have spoken with several manufacturers of allergy friendly foods and have been told that they have increased production (see communications below). We have been reassured that having ‘’enough food’’ is not the current issue. The food is available but the challenge is trucking the food to distribution centres and then to retail grocery stores. Retail grocery stores are working hard to improve delivery of goods. They have increased staff levels, are unloading goods as they arrive and are fast tracking new staff to work in grocery stores.

Coles has informed us that those that have a government-issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion Card, Seniors Card, Disability Card or Health Care Card, are very welcome at Community Hour, 7-8 am Monday to Friday. As the Community Hour is already overwhelmed, adding people with particularly challenging food allergies such as milk and wheat and those with multiple food allergy is not possible. We also discussed increasing limits for people with food allergy. However, as this check is done at the checkout with an online check as products are scanned, an increase in limits just for people with food allergy would not be logistically possible. People are reminded that if an increased number of products such as plant based milks is essential, they can visit the grocery store multiple times.

Many families/friends have set up shopping Facebook/Messenger chats so that all can list items they need, and family and friends can look for them in their local retail stores. People can add a picture of the product so those that are not familiar with special diets/particular products can find them more easily.

Some have communicated that stores such as IGA and some independent grocery stores may have a wider range of available allergy friendly food products at present.

People can also refer to the list of online stores we shared on March 19 2020. Our friends at ausEE has an extensive list of online stores people can purchase foods through. https://www.ausee.org/allergyfriendlyfoods.htm

We have spoken with allergy-friendly food manufacturers about the possibility of selling products online via Amazon or eBay in an effort to avoid the bottleneck at grocery store level but we are advised that this would take time and resources to set up, so may not be an option at this time.

A&AA will continue to advocate for people with allergic disease in a fair and reasonable way during this very challenging time. We understand the challenges and are trying our best to improve access to food, medications and other allergy-friendly products. We ask people with (and without) allergic disease to be reasonable in your purchases and understand there is not a food shortage but a delivery bottleneck. Once the hoarding of food and other products slows down (and it will) we will be able to access most things we need.

At this time, if you have food allergy, try to access foods that you usually buy. Be sure to read ingredient lists and precautionary allergen statements every time you purchase a food, even if you have purchased it before. Be cautious of any new foods you need to purchase, making sure you carefully read labels of unfamiliar foods and contact the manufacturer as an added precaution.

Please continue to reach out to us as needed. We are here to support you during this challenging time. Email coordinator@allergyfacts.org.au or call 1300 728 000.

Communications with manufacturers
Freedom Foods Group Limited and Sanitarium Health Food have said their companies are experiencing increased demand across key products including UHT dairy, plant based beverages and cereals & snacks.

They have increased production of all free-from products to ensure they meet the increased demand on these vital foods for the ‘’free from’’ community.

The companies are working closely with key retailers and other customers in Australia to maintain supply and do not see any constraints for supply of raw materials or packaging.

Lion Dairy & Drinks –Vitasoy have assured us that they have extensive response plans and protocols in place to mitigate and manage any disruption to their operations and supply chain.
They are confident about their supply and are constantly working to meet the changing demand patterns so they can provide Vitasoy products to their consumers.

They have enough stock in Australia to maintain continuous production of their products and are confident that the additional measures they have introduced will help continue to serve their customers.

Well and Good have communicated they have increased their production and will try their best to keep up with demand. As all their products are made in Australia they have said there will be less disruption to availability. They have stock available and customers can buy from Well and Good directly through www.buyglutenfreedirect.com.au Delivery is a flat rate of $6.

Roma Foods (Orgran) is an Australian manufacturer of free from foods products. They have communicated they have sufficient raw materials to maintain supply across their range of products. Roma Foods have increased production shifts to meet current demand and have maintained supply across their customer base including major retailers and independent grocery stores. They are seeking further avenues to supply their products, including additional online retailers and special buys.

The full range of Roma Food products can be purchased online through Sunnybrook Health Stores at https://www.sunnybrookhealthstore.com.au/

Advice about accessing medication
If you are having difficulty accessing medication please speak with your pharmacist directly. If you continue to have difficult accessing medication please contact us via coordinator@allergyfacts.org.au and we will work with you to try to access medication. People with respiratory (airway and breathing) conditions such as asthma, must take all prescribed medication and take treatment advice seriously. Call your doctor for an appointment if you think your asthma is not well controlled or you are needing to use your reliever puffer (such as Ventolin) more often than usual. See advice from Asthma Australia: https://asthma.org.au/blog/faqs-asthma-and-covid-19/ and the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy https://www.allergy.org.au/members/covid-19
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