The NJ Authorities Are Ready to Adopt the Strictest Law on Food Allergy
NEW JERSEY — August 8, 2018
Every day, people suffering from food allergies, are required to ensure which foods ended up on their plate. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening.
The New Jersey authorities settled that question once and for all with a proposed ordinance that some officials believe would be among the "strictest and most impactful" Food Allergy laws in both New Jersey and the country.
In particular, the ordinance, introduced recently by Edison Township Councilman Sam Joshi, offer a significant overhaul in the township's eatery industry, requiring more than 630 establishments in the town and nearly 400 catering companies outside the town.
Sam Joshi said that the latest data has shown that allergic reactions most often occur from miscommunications with food served at restaurants, banquet halls, schools and other establishments.
"Food allergies have increased so dramatically in the last decade that a lot of owners or servers don't have a clear policy on food allergies, but they need to," he said.
Now, special employees of all restaurants and fast food will rework their menus and label all allergens for every dish and beverage they serve.
Currently, there are no statewide laws on the books in New Jersey requiring restaurants and catering companies to label allergens in the food and beverages they serve.
According to the Food Allergy Research and Education, five states -- Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia -- currently have laws designed to make it safer for individuals with food allergies to dine in restaurants. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to pass a restaurant awareness law.
For all employees also will be organized specifically for training and Food Code revisions in General.
Under the proposed ordinance, "allergy friendly" menus, they will have to note which items contain the most common allergens, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The list comprises milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans -- along with MSG and sulfites. These foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.
The bars will also have to label allergens that are in each dish and beverage. This also applies to cater to companies located outside the township but who come to Edison for events.
Sam Joshi added that it is unacceptable for a server to plead ignorance to what could become a deadly mistake.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies in children in the U.S. have risen by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
"Children with food allergy are two to four times more likely to have other related conditions such as asthma and other allergies, compared with children without food allergies," said in the statement.
In particular, from 2010 to 2016, more than 4.5 million children 18 and under throughout the U.S. had to go to the emergency room for food allergies, mostly from peanuts, tree nuts and seeds, according to a report this year by Blue Cross Blue Shield. A majority of affected children will “outgrow food” allergies with age. And then it could become a lifelong concern.
"In 2007, an estimated 3 million children under age 18 years (3.9%) had a reported food allergy. From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,500 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children under age 18 years," the statement also added.
Joshi said he hopes that this ordinance will become a standard for other towns to adopt throughout the state to protect those susceptible to certain allergens.
The ordinance will go before the township's seven-member council on August 22. If passed, the ordinance would become effective on October 1.
Earlier it was reported that Kansas resident almost died after she ate just 1 nut under a doctor's supervision. She had to treat with epinephrine, to stop these dangerous reactions.
It all started with a severe nut allergy after she ate a piece of a cashew and ended up at the hospital.
"Cashews and pistachios are my top two worst, those will actually kill me," Hagel said. "I’m not allergic to almonds and I’m not allergic to hazelnuts, but I stay away from all of them because it’s not worth it."
Allergies are basically an immune reaction to a normally harmless protein and they can range from mild to sometimes so severe it can be life-threatening. These very severe reactions are called anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic reactions, and can start with "feeling funny" and then quickly progress to face and throat swelling, trouble breathing, nausea, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and a drop in blood pressure.
The three biggest triggers of anaphylaxis are food, medication, and insect stings, and they can happen in people who haven't had a previous reaction to the allergen.