Food Allergy Bill Could Cost Small Businesses - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Food Allergy Bill Could Cost Small Businesses

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MARYLAND - Here's a scary thought. Most people in the food industry don't know how to handle questions about allergens or how to separate them from food. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has recommended changes that inspirited a bill which could change the way some do business.

Senate Bill 409, would require servers to ask customers about their food allergies when ordering, or post a notice on a menu board. Some employees would need to take a training course on allergens and a certified employee must be on the premises at all times. The top eight allergens that this bill addresses are cow's milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Restaurants would not have to follow this ruling when participating as a vendor at a fair or carnival.

Small business owners will likely have to pay for the training and testing of their employees.
But, Easton PIzzeria's owner Turgot Oral thinks the costs may pay off down the road saying, "A lot of business owners are going to think it's going to hurt their budget but meanwhile they will get used to it. I don't think it's going to be a big deal."

What will be a big deal, though, are the punishments for not complying. First time offenders could receive a 1,000 dollar fine and up to 90 days in jail.

The bill has passed the Senate, but no date has been set for voting on the bill in the House.

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