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County Executive Laura Curran Signs Legislator Josh Lafazan’s Food Allergy Restaurant Safety Ordinance at Ceremony

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed into law the Food Allergy Restaurant Safety Ordinance during a ceremony at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

Initially introduced in July by Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (Woodbury), the measure was approved by the full Nassau County Legislature on Sept. 23.

“Food allergies can be significant barrier to quality of life for many of our residents. No one should feel anxious ordering at a restaurant. By raising both public and industry awareness about food allergens, we are helping take that fear away and ensuring residents can safely enjoy restaurants throughout Nassau County,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

The ordinance requires at least two employees at all food service establishments under the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Department of Health to receive food allergen training through a program approved by the Health Commissioner. The training must be renewed every five years.

In addition, food service establishments must post no fewer than two signs that: identify the eight major food allergens; list common symptoms of allergic reactions; and invite patrons to alert staff members about their food allergies and dietary requirements. The signs, which will also identify the number of employees that have completed food allergen training, will also delineate the response to be taken if a customer states that they have a food allergy or experience an allergic reaction. Signs must be visible in areas utilized by food preparation employees and patrons alike.

Signs and training will be made available in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and other languages deemed necessary by the Health Department. Non-compliance with the signage and training mandates are punishable by a civil penalty of $50 to $500.

Legislator Lafazan’s efforts on this issue were informed by startling statistics related to food allergy incidents in the United States. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), approximately 32 million Americans have food allergies. Approximately 5.6 million of those afflicted are children. Approximately 40 percent of those youths are allergic to more than one food.

Approximately 200,000 people in the United States require emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food, and experts say that medical procedures to treat anaphylaxis resulting from a food allergy increased by 380 percent between 2007 and 2016.

“Our response to food allergies warrants a true sense of urgency. Arm in arm with parents, children, doctors and advocates, Nassau County is proclaiming today and for all days going forward that strive to be the most allergy friendly municipality in America,” Legislator Lafazan said. “I am grateful to County Executive Curran and all of my colleagues in the Legislature for supporting this crucial legislation.”

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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