Boston Globe front page highlights food allergy safety in restaurants
Food Allergy Legislation – MA Takes the Lead
Tanya beat me to the punch today by sending this link to an article about food allergy safety in restaurants from page 1 of today’s Boston Globe.
The article highlights some of the details, released yesterday, of a law passed in Massachusetts last year. I am proud to see Massachusetts taking the lead in legislating more food allergy friendliness. Rather than reiterating what you can read in the article, I would point out one key part of the legislation that was NOT mentioned: the voluntary restaurant certification program. This program, which I believe is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, will allow restaurants in Massachusetts to earn the designation of “food allergy friendly.” What that program will entail appears to remain unknown.
Tanya also stated the following:
“I was thrilled to see this article but appalled by many of the comments made by the general public. People are so naive about how life threatening an allergy can be.” (To see the comments Tanya is referring to, go to the bottom of the article and click “View Reader Comments.”)
Tanya’s last point seems spot on and, unfortunately, would be relevant to ALL of the recent articles I’ve seen that have been published about restaurants and food allergies, including those in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, amongst others. On the positive side however, at least our community is starting to get prominent coverage within widely-read news publications. That alone may be a big step in educating the world about the seriousness of food allergies and other intolerances.
Two other points I believer are worth mentioning, one regarding the law and one regarding the article:
— Unfortunately, the law wasn’t designed for those with Celiac Disease and other serious intolerances (though it should provide some help). This community needs the same awareness and benefits as the food allergy community. In fact, one could debate whether the two should be considered distinct communities at all.
— Also, in my opinion, the article shed a negative light on the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, even potentially casting them as food allergy unfriendly. To this, I have to speak up in their defense. During the 19 months in which I was developing AllergyEats, I occasionally consulted with Peter Christie (President) and others at the MRA. They have consistently been very supportive and enthusiastic about my endeavor, offering valuable perspective and recommendations. Even now, they are showing their support for AllergyEats in its attempt to help those with food allergies by offering their endorsement of the site (click here). I believe the Massachusetts Restaurant Association not only fully understands the seriousness of food allergies but would also like to help drive more restaurants to become allergy-friendly.
Please help demonstrate your support for allergy-friendly restaurants by going to www.allergyeats.com and sharing your positive and negative restaurant experiences via our simple 3-question survey. The more ratings we have, the more restaurants will feel compelled to cater to our community. Thank you.
So what do you think? Do you agree with Tanya’s comments? Do you agree with mine? Are there other parts of the article or legislation that you think need to be heard? If so, please click the Comments link below and share your thoughts.