Food and DrinkNews

Concerns Raised on Hotel Quarantine System for Those with Life-Threatening Allergies

The Anaphylaxis Campaign is calling for urgent action from the government to protect those with severe food allergies. This follows an alarming report in the Guardian of a case of life-threatening anaphylaxis to nuts in a hotel-quarantined individual.

Anaphylaxis Campaign’s Clinical Panel Chair, Professor John Warner, has previously highlighted the shortcomings and danger to people with allergies in a letter sent to the British Medical Journal in June 2021. This was after his own experience of the quarantine system, where a family member was repeatedly served unsuitable food despite having clearly registered their specific dietary requirements.

This latest incident demonstrates the continued failings of quarantine hotel food provision. There is a clear lack of duty of care to safely serve those with food allergies who have no other choice or way to obtain allergy safe food while quarantined.

The Anaphylaxis Campaign has received reports that exemptions from hotel quarantine on medical grounds for severe food allergies have been immediately rejected with no means for appeal.

Severe food allergy is a medical condition. The Anaphylaxis Campaign asks the government to ensure that, at a minimum, applications for medical exemption on grounds of food allergy are assessed by a suitably qualified clinician. Someone who has knowledge and understanding of allergy and the life-threatening nature of anaphylaxis.

The Anaphylaxis Campaign strongly believes that action must be taken now to allow for appropriate medical exemptions. Otherwise it will only be a matter of time before this lack of understanding and care for those with severe allergies leads to further life-threatening allergic reactions, and at worst a fatality.