New legislation being debated in Maryland calls for increased food allergy education for restaurant employees.
The measure would require restaurant workers to learn more about the risks associated with food allergies in an effort to protect their customers from a dangerous reaction.
House Bill 9 is expected to pass, and it will require Maryland restaurants to post information in their kitchens about the risks of food allergens and cross-contamination. Such measures would be required by a March of 2014 deadline.
Task Force Created
The legislation also calls for a task force to study food allergy training, inspection practices, and educational materials provided to restaurants. The goal of the task force is the improvement of food allergen policies and procedures within the food service industry.
If the bill is signed by Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, it would go into effect on Oct. 1. The task force would have until January of 2014 to report its findings.
According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), nearly half of all fatal allergic reactions happen in food service establishments such as restaurants. In light of that statistic, this new legislation responds to the need to make restaurants a safer place for those with allergies to enjoy a meal.