PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The senate approved a legislation sought by a 17-year-old girl from Middletown to make restaurants safer for people with food allergies.
Danielle Mongeau, a LaSalle Academy junior, attended the Senate session today to see the approval of the bill which Sen. Louis P. DiPalma submitted at her request.
The legislation is modeled after a Massachusetts law that went into effect last year. It would require all food-service establishments to have a food protection manager on staff who is trained and certified in food-allergy awareness.
It would require allergy-awareness posters in staff areas to make all food-service workers cognizant of the importance of their roles in preventing allergic reactions and the steps they can take to protect food-allergic customers.
Additionally, restaurants would be required to post a notice on menus and menu boards asking customers to make servers aware when placing their orders if someone in the party has a food allergy.
The legislation also calls upon the Department of health to develop a voluntary program for food-service establishments to be designated as "Food Allergy Friendly. "
The Department of Health would work with the Rhode Island Hospitality Association and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network to develop specific guidelines, one requirement would be that the restaurant makes available to the public a list of all ingredients used in every item served. The Department of Health would maintain a list of Food Allergy Friendly restaurants in the state on its website.
Mongeau is allergic to tree nuts, while her 14-year-old sister, Lauren, is allergic to a wide range of ingredients
As his constituent, Mongeau asked Senator DiPalma to introduce the bill after her family spent a week in Boston after the new Massachusetts law took effect.
The bill will now advance to the House of Representatives, where Rep. J. Russell Jackson has also introduced the bill.
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