• The Little Fig cafe in Adelaide they want to create a safe space for allergy sufferers to eat. (Supplied/The Little Fig)Source: Supplied/The Little Fig
The Little Fig is believed to be the first Australian cafe to install an EpiPen station.
Alyssa Braithwaite

22 Sep 2017 - 2:24 PM  UPDATED 19 Mar 2021 - 12:50 PM

An Adelaide cafe has introduced a potentially life-saving EpiPen station for customers with allergies.

Little Fig Cafe in Melrose Park is believed to be the first Australian cafe to fit the equipment, in partnership with Global Anaphylaxis Awareness and Inclusivity (globalaai). 

If a diner suffers an anaphylaxis attack, which can be fatal, an injection of adrenaline will be on hand and immediately available.  

Little Fig Cafe owner Hayley Ryan says she decided to introduce the EpiPen station after her sister-in-law was diagnosed with a severe sesame allergy. 

"It's something we can do to keep it a safe space for allergy suffers, on the off-chance there's an accident or anything like that," Ms Ryan tells SBS.

"Allergies are one of those things you can't specifically see, and people don't really understand how serious an allergy is unless they've had the unfortunate experience to go through them.

"For us it's showing that we understand allergies, we're ok with you coming in, and if an unfortunate circumstance happens, we've got your back."

According to allergy awareness organisation globalaai, up to 20 per cent of the population suffer from allergies.

globalaai was founded by South Australian woman Dr Pooja Newman, after she nearly died after suffering latex anaphylaxis from balloons at a concert.

Ms Ryan says the Little Fig Cafe regularly gets enquiries and requests from allergy sufferers.

They serve a range of allergy-friendly meals, and have all items labelled on their menu. 

While they work very hard to make sure nothing gets cross-contaminated, Ms Ryan says they want to be on the safe side.

"The main ones are dairy and nuts, but there are some occasional other ones that we get, like capsicum and onions," she says.

"But when you come in and buy a coffee you might not necessarily disclose an allergy, but the reality is cafes now use almond milk so there's a chance there could be traces."

Since introducing the EpiPen station and placing a sticker advertising it in their window earlier this week, Ms Ryan says they have had a huge amount of positive feedback from customers.

She says one unexpected benefit of the initiative is that people seem more comfortable disclosing their allergies because the cafe is clearly supportive of it.

Ms Ryan hopes cafes and restaurants around the country will follow their lead, as well as other public venues like gyms, pools and sporting events.

"Yes, you have to replace it, yes it does have an expiry date, but the outlay for keeping people safe is so minimal," she says.

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