sign in text superimposed over restaurant interior

White Plains, NY — Thirty-two million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children. Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone in America to the emergency room. A new bi-partisan proposal at the Board of Legislators will help restaurants protect families dealing with food allergies in Westchester.

The measure introduced Monday by Legislator Vedat Gashi (D-Yorktown, New Castle, Somers), and co-sponsored by Minority Leader Margaret Cunzio (C-Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, North Castle), would provide free online training for food service personnel in basic allergy safety. It also would provide restaurants with signs to hang that contain information about common allergens, symptoms of reactions and actions to be taken in case of food allergies.

Gashi said, "Food allergies are a fact of life for families in Westchester.  This measure will ensure that restaurants have guidance and training in how to deal with these allergies.  The training will be free. It will be available online. And it will come at minimal cost to the County.”

“Anxiety about food allergies makes many families reluctant to dine out. This law will give them peace of mind. Removing that reluctance will encourage diners to get out and enjoy a meal at our local, small businesses that are still struggling. Many restaurants are already working hard to address the food allergy needs of customers. Our desire is to help every restaurant do the same."

Cunzio said, “As someone who has a food allergy and has many family members with food allergies, I know first-hand the feeling of ease when eating out at a food establishment that is knowledgeable about food allergies versus the anxiety when it is an unknown. This legislation will help make the simple task of eating out safer for many people and children.  Food allergies affect millions in the U.S. and until there is a cure education is the key.”

Under the proposal, the online training and signs would be provided by the County Department of Health.

Similar provisions to the new proposal exist in cities like New York, and states like Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts and California.