Friday, March 20, 2009

Petition to the Raleigh City Council - Food Allergen Poster

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about new ways to improve the lives of those with Celiac Disease and/or nother food allergies. Dining out in restaurants is a big issue for the estimated 12 million Americans with a food allergy. For those of us on a Gluten Free Diet, we are well aware of the dangers of eating out.

About this same time, I saw an interesting article about something the City Council of New York City did. The NYC City Council actually passed a law which requires restaurants to display a food allergy education poster and will fine locations $100 for non-compliance. I thought this was a great idea and would be a good starting point in the education of food service workers in the food allergy arena. Of course this does not guarantee that food allergy sufferers can have a safe meal, but it is a start down that path. Food service workers need to know what the allergies are and how to prevent cross-contamination.

So, I decided to email the Raleigh City Council about the issue and my proposal. I offered up my services on the creation of the poster and anything else they would need. I have not heard back as of yet. In the meantime, I created an online petition to gain a little more ammunition. Please take just a few minutes to read the petition and to sign it. The more signatures, the more the City Council will take this issue seriously. Thanks for your time and support!

Click here to sign the Food Allergy Education Poster Petition to the City Council of Raleigh, North Carolina.


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog while searching something else. I think you idea is great! I'm a milk-allergy sufferer as well as being allergic to wheat. I live in NJ and travel to Europe frequently and have always been GREATLY impressed when I tell a waitperson in any country over there that I have a serious milk allergy (I go into shock with as little as a teaspoonful of a milk product). To a person, they've always come back with "so that means no milk, cream, cheese, sour cream, butter, cream cheese or cream fraiche." They don't treat it as a pain in the neck for them, having to then go check with the chef. They take it as a natural thing and don't make you feel you're being picky for no reason. I wish I knew how they educated their waitstaffs over there. Here in the US, I frequently get attitude back or rolling eyeballs and annoyance, unless I'm in a very expensive restaurant. You can tell the difference. At Jean-Georges Vongtereichen in NYC I selected a prix fixe lunch and told the waiter I'd have to skip both the featured desserts due to milk allergy. He immediately said "Absolutely not, madam. We'll be happy to substitute anything you can eat." He suggested a blackberry and strawberry fruit bowl with liqueur on top. Everyone at my table expressed envy at what I got versus their dessert. Qualtiy will always tell. So, good luck with your poster campaign. It's VERY important. A coworker died a few years ago at a Chinese restaurant when she asked if they used peanut oil (she was allergic) and the waiter (who knew little english) told her no, and a half-hour later she was dead. Education on food allergies and celiac disease is VITAL for a lot of us.

PJ in NJ

Lisa said...

I just stumbled onto your blog while searching for something else. As a Raleigh resident who eats gluten free with my whole family I thank you for proposal to the City Council and I will sign your petition.

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