NYS announces allergy awareness initiative in food service

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced on Monday a new initiative to help restaurants and food services establishments increase awareness of food allergies in consumers. Establishments serving food must display a large allergy notice that is easily visible and accessible to employees when preparing food.

All food service establishments, including internet-based food deliveries, are required to include an allergy notice on their menu as well, in addition to food prep areas. Steps for staff to follow when a customer says they have an allergy, how to prevent cross-contamination during food prep, and instructions to call 911 if a customer has an allergic reaction are also included.

“For people with food allergies, eating something that has been cross-contaminated with potential allergens can have serious consequences,” said acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “This new initiative will help inform food service workers about the dangers of food allergens and protect their customers with food allergies, while also giving consumers comfort in knowing that staff is prepared to assist them in case of an emergency.”

“At the Department, we actively inspect our retail food outlets for food safety hazards but many times these stores also serve food directly to consumers,” said NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “Allergens are commonly found within food establishments and the potential for cross-contamination of these allergens in other foods is a serious concern. This new policy directing our food establishments to post an allergy notice and develop procedures to reduce cross-contamination will help educate our food service employees about food allergies and provide consumers assurance that staff is trained, communicating, and ready to respond in an emergency.”

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