Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy J. Pinkin to require the Commissioner of Health to develop an informational sign promoting food allergen awareness was signed into law by Governor Christie today.
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.
Approximately 15 million people, including nearly six million children, in the United States has some form of reportable food allergy. The prevalence of children peanut or tree nut allergy has more than tripled in the past three decades. Food allergy reactions typically involve foods that are believed to be safe, and can result from mislabeling or cross-contact during preparation.
“It is for these reasons, it was important that we require a uniform process to educate restaurant staff on the importance of allergen information and how to keep their guests health in mind when handling certain food items that could cause a serious health risk,” 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.
Edison Councilman Sam Joshi was helpful in writing the bill and provided his personal stories about his food allergies.
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 2015 and this past November.