Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin to require the Commissioner of Health to develop an informational sign promoting food allergen awareness was released from an Assembly committee on Thursday.
The poster is to be developed, in consultation with the New Jersey Restaurant Association and in consideration of food allergy information published by the federal Food and Drug Administration, will include information about the most common food allergens, the health-related consequences of allergic reactions to food, best practices for food storage and preparation to prevent cross-contamination with food allergens, the symptoms of and appropriate responses to an allergic reaction to food, and such other information as the commissioner deems appropriate.
“It is my belief that promoting greater awareness of the risks posed by food allergens among restaurant staff may help prevent accidental exposures to food allergens, and prepare staff to respond appropriately in the event a restaurant patron exhibits the symptoms of an allergic reaction to food,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex).
This poster will be made available to restaurants and local boards of health, and restaurants will be required to obtain and prominently display the sign in the restaurant kitchen or other appropriate locations within the place of business.
There are roughly between 200 to 300 reported deaths due to food allergies each year – and the numbers are growing.
Sam Joshi, an Edison resident, was helpful in writing the bill and provided his personal stories about his food allergies. Joshi testified at Thursday’shearing in favor of the bill.
The bill will now be considered by the full Assembly.
Assemblywoman Pinkin represents the 18th Legislative District which includes East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Highland Park, Metuchen, South Plainfield and South River. She was first elected to the Assembly in 2013 after serving on the East Brunswick Town Council since 2005. The Assemblywoman was re-elected in November 2015.