I just received this most excellent news:
For the average New Yorker a simple mistake by a waiter or cook is an inconvenience. If you order decaf and the waiter brings you regular, it might keep you up all night. However, for the 300,000 New Yorkers who suffer from food allergies, a similar mistake could be fatal.
At yesterday's meeting, the City Council passed my legislation to require restaurants and other food service establishments to display a poster that provides important food allergy information to their staff.
This is literally a life or death issue for millions of Americans. We need to make sure that food preparers in New York City understand the dangers and how to prevent fatal attacks. Deaths from food allergies are preventable if people are educated.
Despite the importance of education in preventing food allergy reactions, a survey conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in 2007 found that of the 100 restaurant managers, chefs, and servers they surveyed, only 42 percent had received any food allergy education. Twenty four percent thought that it is safe to consume small amounts of an allergen; 25 percent thought that removing problem foods-like nuts or shrimp-from a finished dish would make it safe; and 35 percent believed that fryer heat destroys allergens.
The new poster, which will be available in multiple languages, will highlight the most common food allergens, as well as provide information about how to avoid cross contamination and what signs to look for to identify an allergic reaction. The poster will be displayed in a conspicuous location that is visible to food preparers and food handlers.
This is a small and simple thing we can do, but it has the potential to save lives.
Council Member Jessica Lappin
Now I'm not sure if this will include gluten issues, since they are technically not an allergy. I can't wait to see the poster!
Have a great weekend!