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Food Allergy Initiative to Partner With NYC Department of Health on Educational Poster for Restaurants Citywide

New York City-based nonprofit commends City Council for passage of life-saving legislation

NEW YORK, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for life-threatening food allergies, will collaborate with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to create an educational poster aimed at raising food allergy awareness among restaurant workers. In addition to working with DOHMH to develop the concept, FAI, which is headquartered in New York City, advocated for legislation to require that the poster be displayed in restaurants citywide. The bill, Int. # 818A, sponsored by Council Member Jessica Lappin (5th District-Manhattan), was signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg on March 18, 2009.

Food allergies affect more than 12 million Americans, including approximately 300,000 New York City residents. For many, ingesting even a minuscule amount of the wrong food can lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially deadly reaction.

A survey of 100 restaurant managers, chefs and servers, conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, found that only 42 percent had received any food allergy training. "Many food service employees lack basic information that could literally mean the difference between life and death for someone with a food allergy," said Lappin. "This poster will be a simple, cost-effective resource that will help servers and preparers detect hidden ingredients and prevent cross-contamination -- the number one cause of food allergic-reactions in restaurants."

Restaurants would display the poster in a prominent location that is accessible to all employees that prepare or serve food. In keeping with city law, the poster will be available in Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, and Spanish.

"New York is the restaurant capital of the world, so it's fitting that the city should be a world leader in protecting the health of restaurant patrons," said Robert Pacenza, executive director, FAI. "The Food Allergy Initiative is deeply grateful to the Council for its support of this vital legislation. In particular, we want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Quinn, Council Member Lappin, and Health Committee Chair Rivera for their commitment to the safety of food-allergic residents and visitors."

To view the bill, visit and search Legislation for Int. 818-2008. For more information about food allergies, visit or contact FAI at 212-207-1974 or

About Food Allergies

Food allergies are on the rise in all westernized countries. It is estimated that they affect more than 12 million Americans, including 3 million children and teenagers. Eight foods -- peanut, tree nuts, cow's milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish -- are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions. There is no cure for food allergies, and the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is strict avoidance of problem foods. It is estimated that anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially fatal reaction, results in approximately 125,000 emergency room visits and 150 deaths every year. There is no medication to prevent anaphylaxis -- only emergency treatment with epinephrine, administered after a reaction has begun.

About the Food Allergy Initiative

Founded in 1998, the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) is a national, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding a cure and effective treatment for food allergies and anaphylaxis. Headquartered in New York, FAI is the largest private source of food allergy research funding in the United States. Since its inception, the organization has contributed more than $60 million toward research, clinical activities to improve diagnosis and treatment, public policy initiatives, and educational programs.

SOURCE Food Allergy Initiative
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