Food Allergy Awareness Act
On January 2009, Massachusetts Governor Patrick signed into law the Food Allergy Awareness Act. The Act requires that certain food establishments comply with regulations developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The purpose of the Act was to educate the food service community on some food allergies that consumers may have.
The act went into law on October 1, 2010. All food establishments that cook, prepare, or serve food intended for immediate consumption either on or off the premises must be fully compliant.
Food Allergy Awareness Poster
Every food establishment in Massachusetts is required by law to display a food allergy awareness poster in the staff area. In addition, they are required to include a notice on menus that reads 'Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.' ( Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 6B )
Video Training for Certification
The law also requires that a person in charge has food allergy training for certified food protection managers. The training is done via video in collaboration with FAAN Ambassador Who Cares Ming Tsai. The four-part video is available on YouTube.
Food Allergy Friendly Restaurants
The law requires that the Massachusetts department of Public Health designated a program for restaurants to be classified as ''Food Allergy Friendly'' and maintain a listing of restaurants receiving that designation on its website. I checked their site and wasn't able to find any 'Food Allergy Friendly' list.
The law does not require that the food establishment has allergy friendly food, just that they are aware of the issues that people have with food allergies.
Failure to have the Food Allergy poster posted, menu notice or proof of training would be a critical health item on the health inspection report requiring corrective action within 10 days.
If you or anyone in your party has any food allergy, it's a good idea to view the poster and watch the video. This will help you have an understanding of what information is available at the food establishment. (or at least what people should know.)