About Allergy Free Asia

 

Background

Allergy Free Asia Limited (“AFA”) is a Hong Kong based charitable non-profit organization under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. AFA was founded in 2015.

Our organization acts as a support structure for food and environmental related allergy patients; to inform the public with accurate information of issues surrounding allergies and intolerance; and to raise awareness and increase diagnosis in Hong Kong, as well as the Asia Pacific Region.

One of the founders started an online support group in 2012, building a community-based support network. Through years of observation, simply providing a support platform for allergy patients was simply not enough. For example, many patients with food related allergies deal with discrimination by restaurants, friends and even family members due to the their lack of understanding of their allergies and conditions. Such examples include often being seen as “fussy” eaters when going to gatherings, not being able to eat with the rest of the guests or what’s on the table…etc.

Hence our focus is to help raise awareness through various campaigns to educate and reach out to those who do not have allergies, those who are unaware of their allergy symptoms, as well as the service industry in order to improve quality of life with a larger impact.

Our Mission

To improve life of allergies and food intolerance patients, restoring essential element of enjoying life ~ social equality, raise awareness and increase diagnoses. We do this by S.E.A.R.C.H.

Standards: To establish allergens certification program for commercial kitchens and manufacturers, empower in-region allergy free food productions and increase better options for consumers.

Educate: To increase public awareness in Asia through the facilitation of allergy free awareness campaigns.

Action: To raise funds to ensure that any persons, regardless of their state of income, to be able to do allergy tests for free and get advice or information on their health.

Research: To conduct research studies with professionals.

Collaborate: To co-operate and liaise with all relevant organizations (including professional bodies, corporate, government organizations and municipalities) to maximize effort in bringing potential solutions to public.

Harmony: Changing the world as we know it, create a more harmonized society and leading by example.

Our Team

Andy Kun, Founding Director, Allergy Free Asia
As a co-founding director of Allergy Free Asia, Andy is determined to transform the lives of Asians with allergies and food intolerances by raising public awareness through various campaigns, increasing diagnoses with subsidized funding, and educating the public to increase understanding and compassion toward sufferers. His ultimate goal is to create a larger social impact in Asia.Prior to AFA, Andy co-founded and is the CEO and Master Chef of Urban Health Group Limited, a Hong Kong-based consultancy and food provider of specialty, healthy and allergen-friendly foods. Prior to Urban Health, Andy had 5 years of experience in solution sales in the global conferencing industry.

Driven by his and his partner’s first-hand experience with a sudden onset of food related allergies and intolerances as well as his passion in cooking, Andy developed a strong focus in spreading the gluten-free and allergy-friendly culture, by offering allergy-free and intolerance-friendly cooking workshops, private dining and catering to travelers and locals so that his clients may have a safe home away-from-home experience.

Tracy Kwong, Founding Director, Allergy Free Asia

Tracy Kwong is currently the Operations Manager at a local healthcare company. Driven by her interest and passion in health and wellness, she has been very keen on health promotion with her knowledge in humanities and nutrition. As a healthy foodie, she has helped to design food menus for those with special dietary needs in different events over the years.

Tracy started her venture at Hong Kong Preventive Medicine Association, a HK-based charity on disease prevention since 2011. She took the initiative to work with healthcare professionals in Hong Kong and Mainland China on medical studies and health publications.

Tracy has discovered that she is sensitive to dairy and egg few years ago. Recognized the challenge faced by those suffered from food sensitivities, she knows a lot need to be done to make our society friendlier to people with adverse food reactions.

Jo Soo Tang Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia

Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia; Chairman, HKAHF; Founder, Wellness 360 HK

Jo is currently on her third term as Chairman for the Adventist Hospital Foundation. She has been a volunteer for over 15-years helping the charity raise funds, manage medical cases for the heart, hearing, cancer, special needs and forming strategic collaborations with other NGOs. She has also been instrumental in spearheading the Foundation’s marketing communication programmes with the most recent Gift of Hope Bracelet campaign.

Jo has a decade of agency experience with Weber Shandwick Public Relations HK, Edelman Public Relations HK and also ran her own agency, ExcitePR, in NYC and San Francisco.

Most recently she founded a marketing communications consultancy specializing in the health and wellness sector assisting clients such as Flex Studios, Wu Yi Star Organic Teas, Punch Detox, Vital Health and Body Awakening.

Jo holds a joint Bachelor of Business & Law degree from University of Technology, Sydney, an International Tourism & Hotel Management Degree from The Intercontinental Hotel, Sydney and a Masters Degree in Communications from Sydney University. She is based in Hong Kong and is married with three children.

Rahim Mohammed, Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia

Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia; Head of Product Development, Pizza Express Restaurant Group

Rahim Mohammed is the Head of Product Development for the Pizza Express Restaurant Group in Hong Kong and China, and is a communications and media graduate of Leeds University, UK. Originally from the UK, he has been living in Hong Kong for over 17 years with his family and has three children.

He comes from a family of chefs and restaurant owners and before joining Pizza Express restaurants he has also worked with the Lan Kwai Fong Group and Max Concepts (Maxim’s), both based in Hong Kong. Having discovered that his son has numerous food allergies, including an intolerance to gluten, he recognized the challenges coeliacs face when dining out. He then went on to implement a gluten free pizza menu into a number of Pizza Express outlets in Hong Kong.

Rahim brings extensive knowledge of restaurant operations in Hong Kong and China, and has experience in implementing coeliac systems for the F&B industry.

Yolanda Che, Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia

Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia; Founding Director, Welspring; Founder and Director, Wellness Club Ltd; Founder and Director, iCarbonSmart

As organic natural food importer, distributor and retailer, Yolanda Che has over 20 years of business experience in the natural products industry, from market entry and regulatory compliance to managing sales and marketing operations and distribution. She handles over 160 brands from gluten-free foods and beverages, personal care, dietary supplements, and home supplies. She is a founding Vice-Chair of a trade association for natural products traders in Hong Kong.

As CEO of an award-winning eco-health consultancy social enterprise in Asia, Yolanda gives compliance and market entry consultation as well as training service to market new entrants and business start-ups. Yolanda has over 8 years of experience in planning and delivering CSR initiatives with a focus on corporate wellness and philanthropy to MNCs and corporations. She developed the carbon management e-platform, iCarbonSmart.com, to help listed and to-be-listed companies in Hong Kong comply with ESG reporting requirement and carbon credits procurement.

Yolanda sits on boards of several charities to support organic agriculture, trade and certification sector in Hong Kong. Her volunteering service spans from tertiary education, youth entrepreneurship to retail management. She is a sought-after consultant and speaker in the natural organic industry and social entrepreneurship sector.

Pilar Morais, Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia

Board of Directors, Allergy Free Asia;CEO, CHI Residences; Director, Opendoor Cafe + Courtyard

Born in San Francisco, Pilar grew up in Hong Kong and studied at the renowned Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She then went on to work at a boutique financial firm in Australia, managing a loan book comprised of 80% of the firm’s total value. Pilar returned to Hong Kong to establish her family hospitality business, and has been integral in the strategy and development of the company’s portfolio to include serviced apartments, hotels and resorts.

Pilar has been diagnosed as being gluten and casein intolerant since 2007, and compared to other cities she has lived in, believes that Hong Kong needs better education and greater awareness on such dietary requirements and conditions.

Through her new cafe concept, Opendoor Cafe + Courtyard, Pilar aims to introduce and provide alternative options to the general public, and was one of the first cafes to serve almond milk as a dairy alternative for drinks, which has become very popular.

Board of Advisors

 

Sarah Sleet

Chief Executive of Coeliac UK

Coeliac UK is proud to be the oldest and largest coeliac disease charity in the world and we have been working for people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis since 1968.  We work to improve people’s experience of healthcare, ensure their gluten-free diet is easy to manage and drive research that delivers new solutions to the problems of living with the condition.

We want to see the needs of people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) met and recognized by everyone in their everyday lives.

We do this by:

  •          Providing expert and independent information to help people manage their health and diet
  •          Campaigning for better access to diagnosis and care and better access to food in and out of the home
  •          researching the nature of the disease and potential cures.

Our work supports everyone with coeliac disease and DH. We operate as a Membership organization and anyone with an interest in coeliac disease can join to receive our services or help with our campaign and research work. We have over 60,000 Members and around 1,200 join us every month. We are not Government funded and rely on our Members and the generosity of our fundraisers and supporters to continue our work. We have offices in England, Scotland and Wales.

Sarah joined Coeliac UK in 2005 from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s office, where she worked closely at the heart of government to influence policy making. In her post at the Charity she has overseen a growth in the provision of services for over 60,000 Members, the largest research programme undertaken by the Charity and campaigning successes such as the first ever Government guideline on diagnosis of the condition. She has been closely involved with a number of research projects including a Health Foundation funded project looking to improve primary care management of coeliac disease and a European Commission funded project to develop new point of care testing.

In 2009, Sarah became a Director of The Association of European Coeliac Societies, leading negotiations with the European Commission on gluten-free labeling laws and making contact with coeliac societies all over the world.

In 2012, Sarah became a Council member of the British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.