With House approval, the General Assembly has approved legislation sought by a 17-year-old Middletown girl to help make Rhode Island restaurants safer for diners with food allergies.
The legislation is modeled after a Massachusetts law that went into effect last year and would require all food-service establishments to have a food protection manager on staff who is trained and certified in food-allergy awareness. 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.
Sponsored by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma and Rep. J. Russell Jackson, the legislation would require restaurants to make available, a list of all ingredients used in every item served.
The legislation was submitted at the request of Danielle Mongeau, a LaSalle Academy junior. She asked her legislators to introduce the bill after her family spent a week in Boston after the new Massachusetts law took effect.
The sponsors say they believe the legislation would be good for the restaurant industry, because it would better enable restaurant staff to safely serve customers with allergies, and make it possible for people with allergies who might currently avoid dining out to do so more often.
The Rhode Island Hospitality Association and other food service industry groups testified in support of the legislations.