Regional families discover what’s really in their food

Regional families discover what’s really in their food

ABOVE: Additive Alert: Helen Smith, Louise D’Allura, Lisa Harrison (RichmondPRA) and Paul King (Program Manager, Department of Human Services, Armidale).

A food additives seminar held at Wee Waa High School last week has generated widespread interest while also raising important funds for local schools.

Over the course of two hours, Brisbane-based Home Economist and East Coast’s Additive Alert Community Talk’s presenter Louise D’Allura, helped families learn about food additives, interpreting food labels and alternative food options in an effort to encourage low additive eating.

The event, ‘Food for a happy and calm community’, was attended by 120 people and raised $2146.80 for local schools.

Parents and teachers who attended the session found it informative.

One of the Organising Committee members, Helen Smith, said the event was a great success.

“Louise shared a lot of information about additives and the effects it can have on our lives and health,” she said.

“She provided lots of tips, and even before the event was talking with our local supermarket and Palmers Market to identify options for Wee Waa families.

“It was a great night – lots of information – but all presented in plain English.”

The fundraising supper was cooked by Wee Waa High School’s Hospitality team, expertly led by Teacher Joshua O’Shea.

Organisers agreed the night wouldn’t have happened without the support of the local community.

“This amount could have only been raised with the generous support of RichmondPRA, Challenge Community Services and the amazing Wee Waa businesses and Wee Waa community members that got behind the raffle,” said Helen Smith.

“Thanks to those that came and the major sponsors who helped put the event on, the people who provided raffle prizes and the people who helped put the night together.”

Helen believes the community will continue to work on eliminating unnecessary and potentially dangerous food additives from their diets.

“The audience had many questions for Louise, they were very excited to be learning,” she said.

“There will be a lot of communication between members of the community, with everyone helping each other.

“We will continue talking about it and sharing advice, what works and what doesn’t work.”

During the seminar Ms D’Allura focused on a ‘keep it simple approach’ to making changes.

“My aim is always to help families simplify life – not make it harder,” she said.

“By building their awareness to learn more about what the ingredients are, they can develop a skill to evaluate any product.

“If you look at the ingredient list and you can recognise what the items are, that is a great start.”

According to Additive Alert, we are unwittingly consuming five kilograms of food additives each year.

There are over 60 food additives known to trigger or exacerbate asthma attacks in sufferers, and there are at least 15 additives in foods not ideal for infants and young children.

Louise highlighted that not all additives are bad.

“The trick is to know which food additives are worth avoiding,” she said.

“There are products available that families can buy offering lots of choice to families.

“There are some products not available locally so there is an opportunity for stores to get some products in.”

Organisers hope the information provided will help families make better dietary choices.