Food Allergies, NEW YORK

Council Passes Lappin Bill To Protect Food Allergic New Yorkers

6 Comments 27 February 2009

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!

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Your Comments

6 Comments so far

  1. 1
    mare says:

    It may not have to include gluten, but it will have to include wheat (one of the top allergens) so that will *help*

  2. 2
    Jeff Deasy says:

    Very cool..nice to see an important food safety issue getting addressed. I hope it marks the beginning of a very long term trend. I read about study finding that Americans are more worried about the safety of their fod than they are about terrorism.

    The fact the Council Member Lappin represents my council district and I voted for her makes this news especially welcome.

  3. 3

    This is great news. I hope it catches on in other cities and states as well. My food allergies aren’t life threatening but they do cause intense and severe emotional and mental upsets. I am very careful when I eat in restaurants and almost find myself avoiding them because of the problem of finding something that tastes good and doesn’t have gluten in it. (I live in a small town!)
    thanks for the post!

  4. 4
    LizKnits says:

    Wow.. this sounds fantastic. Be sure to update us and let us know how it goes. Maybe we can ask for such changes in our own locales as well.

  5. 5
    Justie Coyne says:

    I just figured out I’m gluten-intolerant (had the biopsy, it’s negative, but I have DH symptoms and am also IgA deficient so the DH is mild). After a few weeks of GF, I am getting really really tired of hidden gluten, can you girls do a post on how to avoid hidden gluten (like my yeast extract in Swanson’s chicken broth 32 oz box–c’mon really?!?)?

    Also, anybody have any info on Colorado? I live in Denver and work in Fort Collins right now as an attorney, and I am slowly amassing some sort of localized knowledge in a very outdoorsy/health-friendly area of the world. Udi’s and Noodles & Co. treat me well, and Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage are my staples. I may be starting a blog soon, but I’m a newbie and still trying to get the hang of this gluten free life. If you have local info for Colorado, will you please let me know? If not, any interest in collaborating? I noticed there is not much out there for legal advice, so if you all have legal questions, maybe I can help. I, too, feel that there is way too much seriousness in these blogs. And I can always use more of the lighter side.

    Anyway, let me know!

  6. 6
    BrenHebert says:

    Hi! Just found the website when I googled “gluten free pancake recipe”. The idea about allergy education and posters is great! I wish it was was a national thing. I live in a small town where some restaurant workers think it’s hilarious to slip things into your food after you specify that you CANNOT eat it. Especially if you say pork or shellfish.

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Kelly Courson


Thanks for stopping by! I'm Kelly Courson and this is where I've shared my gluten-free finds since 2003. The world has been my gluten-free oyster for 14 years now and I love sharing what I've learned in order to help others adapt to a gluten-free diet. Have a look around and feel free to leave a comment. Connecting with people like you is what has kept me going this long! Seriously.

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