Food allergy affects over 2.6 million Canadians. Avoiding allergenic food(s) is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. More than 600,000 or 1% to 2% of Canadians are estimated to be at risk of anaphylaxis from food and stinging insects. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to something you're allergic to, such as a peanut or the venom from a bee sting. Epinephrine is a medication used for the treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions known as anaphylaxis.
Food is one of the most common causes of anaphylactic reactions in the community, and food-allergic reactions often occur while away from home such as in restaurants. While, people at risk of anaphylaxis need to self-protect, they may require assistance from those around them during an emergency. As such, food service operators can play a role in helping guests with food allergies in an emergency.
The City of Hamilton and partners from McMaster University and Food Allergy Canada are expanding the pilot project that seeks to make Epinephrine Auto-injectors (EAIs) available to the public in restaurants. With a few steps, participating Hamilton restaurants can be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, help respond in the event of an emergency.
Learn how your restaurant can participate in the expansion of the Stock Epinephrine Auto-injector Pilot Project (SEAPP) and register by March 31, 2019. This program will go forward if at least 10 restaurants commit to participating by March 31, 2019.
Stock Epinephrine Auto Injector Pilot Project Background
The City of Hamilton supported the Stock Epinephrine Auto-injector Pilot Project (SEAPP), which ran from September 2014 - March 2016, in collaboration with several partner organizations including McMaster University, Food Allergy Canada, First Real Properties and Rotary Club of Ancaster A.M.
This project was initiated by Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, after being approached by Rotarians, Marty Schure and Dr. Frank Stechey. They inspired him to encourage restaurants to carry stock epinephrine following the tragic death of 12-year-old Maia Santarelli-Gallo, who suffered a fatal allergic reaction while dining at a local food court in 2013. Based on the success of SEAPP, a decision was made to expand this program to include more restaurant locations, and also have EAI’s stocked in City-owned facilities.
- September 2014 to March 2016 Stock Epinephrine Auto-injector Pilot Project (SEAPP)
- November 2016 The City of Hamilton deployed Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EAIs) in City-owned facilities across the city including all recreation centres, arenas, YWCA-senior centres, and community halls.
Questions and Answers
What’s expected of participating restaurants?
- Attend the half-day training session (date to be determined) and complete a session evaluation.
- Identify a staff member who will act as lead, responsible for:
- Procuring stock epinephrine auto-injectors;
- Ensuring a procedure is in place to manage the stock epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g. storage, replacements) and provide staff training as needed; and,
- Participating in research conducted by McMaster University including online surveys about restaurant/foodservice staff knowledge of food allergies and their practices and experiences.
- Sign an agreement letter with the City of Hamilton. This outlines the City’s role as project supporter and your role as a participant. Your participation in this study is voluntary. You can choose to not participate, or you may withdraw at any time without any consequence.
What does the training involve?
- You or your designate will participate in a free half-day, hands-on training session, developed by Food Allergy Canada, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with food allergies live safely.
- The training is designed to give participants basic knowledge about food allergies and anaphylaxis, including how to recognize signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to administer an epinephrine auto-injector (i.e. EpiPen®) in an emergency.
- Participants will also learn tips on updating your current procedures, e.g. maintaining stock epinephrine auto-injectors, and emergency protocols.
- The materials you receive - at no cost - are yours to keep so that you can train your own staff. Additional consultation post-sessions can be provided on a fee-for-service basis.
- Related Sites: Allergen Training for the Foodservice and Food Retail Industry
- Your efforts to learn more about food allergies and anaphylaxis, and being prepared to assist with epinephrine in an emergency, will not only be appreciated by many of your dining guests, it could save a life.
What about legal aspects of the program?
In Canada, there is no explicit legislation that specifically addresses the provision of stock epinephrine auto-injectors by an organization. If you are interested in learning more about this, we encourage you to download a free copy of Managing Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis: a Guide for Post-secondary Institutions. This resource, developed by Food Allergy Canada, includes a chapter on The Legal Context - Stock Epinephrine and an Appendix that covers the Good Samaritan’s Act across the country. You can also consult your organization’s legal counsel if you have questions.
Dr. Ninh Tran
Phone: 905-546-2424, Ext. 7113
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