Thursday, March 19, 2009

NYC passes allergy-related requirement

New York City, the new role model for health departments worldwide, has adopted another food-safety requirement for restaurants. Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill yesterday that will require all restaurants in the city to display posters aimed at educating staffs about the dangers of food allergies, according to the Food Allergy Initiative.

Restaurants that fail to post the placard in a place viewable by employees would be subject to $100 fines, according to a draft posted by New York City Council speaker Chris Quinn. The measure didn’t indicate whether eateries would be given the posters or would have to buy them.

FAI announced this morning that it will collaborate with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop the poster. The placard will also be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Russian languages, to reflect the diversity of New York’s foodservice workforce.

A statement from the mayor was posted today on his website.

Lately, the city’s health department has become the standard-seter for similar operations as far away as London. It banned trans fat use by restaurants, and the trend quickly swept westward. It mandated that calorie counts be posted on chain menus, and everyplace from Philadelphia to California followed suit. Indeed, its decision to address salt content in chain-restaurant food was regarded as a development with national implications.

Is there any doubt that more allergy-related requirements are going to follow in the wake of New York's measure? At least that initiative seems like a relatively effortless one.

1 comment:

rpacenza said...

This new law will be a simple, cost-effective resource that will help servers and preparers detect hidden ingredients and prevent cross-contamination -- the number one cause of food allergic-reactions in restaurants. The Mayor's office has in fact posted a press release describing the Mayor's signing of the bill yesterday, 3/18/09, requiring the food allergy awareness poster in all NYC restaurants/food service establishments. In addition the City Council's section of nyc.gov also clearly shows its passage of the bill - Int 0818-2008 - and the language in the bill that has now become law. The bill language has been available on nyc.gov for several months.