SPRINGFIELD – People who fear having an allergic reaction when they dine out at restaurants will have an avenue to help remind restaurant staff of potential allergic reactions thanks to legislation that passed the Illinois Senate today.
State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) sponsored House Bill 3018 in large part because of an allergic reaction he himself had recently.
“As someone with a food allergy, I understand the care that goes into watching not only what you eat but what your food is prepared with,” Koehler said. “I’m hoping this legislation can help people, especially parents, have a sense of ease when going out to eat at a local restaurant.”
Under HB 3018, restaurants would be required to post a sign in clear view of customers reminding them to tell restaurant staff of any food allergies. The employee who was told of the allergy would then alert their supervisor or certified food protection manager on duty of the allergy.
It is estimated that 32 million people have a food allergy of some kind, including 5.6 million people under the age of 18. Of those children with food allergies, it is reported that 40% are allergic to more than one food.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that the prevalence of food allergies among children increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011. Additionally, the prevalence of nut allergies among children tripled between 1997 and 2008.
The legislation passed the Senate and House and now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.