17-year-old Danielle Mongeau, a Rhode Island resident with a nut allergy, is advocating for a new state law that would require restaurants to take additional steps to deal with customers who have food allergies.
If enacted by state lawmakers, the proposed legislation would require restaurants to train at least one employee in food allergies, and post allergy awareness posters in areas accessible to staff members. These guidelines are intended to reduce cross-contamination by making food allergy issues more apparent to restaurant employees. Restaurants would also have to include a statement on printed menus reminding customers to let the wait staff know about their food allergies when placing an order.
According toBoston.com, Danielle recently testified to the Rhode Island state legislature in favor of the bill. She says that her food allergies, and those of her sister, make it difficult for her family to enjoy a restaurant meal. The bill was introduced by Senator Louis DiPalma, a democrat who says that the proposed legislation will help restaurants to safely serve customers with food allergies by reducing the risk of an allergic reaction.
The bill is modeled after a new law in Massachusetts. Rhode Island is one of several states currently considering food allergy legislation for the restaurant industry.