Mass. tightens food allergen notifications

BOSTON, MA -- In the Bay State, tourists and residents alike will be given more information at restaurants on potential food allergens beginning this summer.

The state Department of Public Health unveiled new requirements this week that will require restaurants to be more proactive in addressing potential allergic reactions.

Restaurant employees will be required to undergo training and education on preventing foods from becoming contaminated by allergy-inducing items. Restaurants also will be required to post allergy alert stickers on all menus to notify staff and customers before orders are placed.

"This law isn’t perfect, but it’s a meaningful first step towards raising awareness," said Janine Harrod, director of government affairs for the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. "It emphasizes the responsibility of the food-allergic customer to remain vigilant about everything they put into their bodies."

The new regulations have been in the works for several years, with the industry being largely cooperative.

Harrod said that, while the law does not now require operators to post allergy alerts on menu boards and drive-thrus, the Public Health Council can expand the scope of requirements before the requirements are formally adopted into law in April.
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