The Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act took effect on August 25, not a minute too soon for diners coping with food allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Nearly half of reported fatal food allergy reactions over a 13-year period were caused by food from a restaurant or other food service establishment.”
The Illinois state law now mandates the implementation of two important provisions: (1) that food service establishments have at least one manager on site during all hours of operation that has undergone accredited food allergy awareness training and (2) that all food handlers employed by a restaurant receive or obtain American National Standards Institute-accredited training in basic safe food handling principles within 30 days after employment and every 3 years thereafter.
Together, the rules ensure that a knowledgable manager is always on-site with whom one can discuss their food allergy concerns and that the kitchen and wait staffs have a basic understanding of how to prevent cross-contact of allergens.
“Ensuring that customers are properly informed of ingredients before they order, and helping restaurants avoid cross contamination before food leaves the kitchen by implementing training, will increase safety for everyone,” said Representative Sara Feigenholtz, who worked with the Illinois Restaurant Association and other groups to craft the bill.
“Customer safety should always be the top priority of restaurants. It is our goal to increase confidence of the many families who suffer from food allergies and avoid dining out to avoid risk,” said Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia.
We at SnackSafely.com applaud Illinois’ efforts at safeguarding their families coping with food allergy and urge other jurisdictions to adopt similar legislation.
- Bill Status of HB2510 – Illinois General Assembly
- Feigenholtz Legislation to Protect Against Dangerous Food Allergic Reactions Becomes Law – Press Release
- Restaurant Food Allergy Practices Six Selected Sites, United States, 2014 – CDC