EDISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A town in New Jersey is considering what could be one of the strictest food allergy laws in the country.

If approved, it would force restaurants and caterers to make every single ingredient public — even secret recipes. An Edison town council member wants to know exactly what’s cooking in restaurant kitchens to help prevent allergic reactions.

The new proposal would require eateries to list all ingredients on their menus that trigger food allergies. The owners at Indian Eatery House are on board, since they already try to do it.

“We want to take care of health concerns like allergies,” co-owner Sam Shyam said. “The way a customer wants on the table, we will serve.”

Other customers say it’s just too much information to sift through, and that the customer can just ask a server. Not to mention, the added administrative burdens on a small business such as La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppe on Route 27.

“There would be costs of implementing it, updating it, you always have that risk that now you’ve published something and it’s not updated then you have liability issues,” bakery owner Brian Pansari said. “As a parent, my son has a nut allergy so we face that situation all the time. Here we have baked goods that we don’t necessarily incorporate nuts in them, but we use shared equipment.”

Some allergists say there’s a simpler way for restaurants to be food safe without giving away secret recipes by just listing the most common allergens such as Milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

“Every allergen is important but those eight, if they can be targeted specifically it would really help us,” Dr. Shaan Waqqas said.

Seeing a full list of ingredients on the menu is still a long way off, but for now you’ll just have to trust your server. A hearing for the new proposal is set for the end of the month.

Comments (17)
  1. Vote for more government, get more government. That should be the Blue State motto. Own it.

  2. I have a kid with a food allergy but we just stay away from places that tend to have nuts. This means no Asian food and no fresh baked goods that are not thoroughly labeled. Depending on a server is useless. In my experience, 1 out of 10 servers have a good understanding of how to handle food allergies. MOST servers do not have a clue about food allergies or the seriousness of certain allergens. All I want is a detailed accounting for the primary allergens as outlined in the article. I don’t want all ingredients. However, most restaraunts want an “out” by saying at the bottom of the menu they can’t guarantee that no allergens are present. I don’t demand anything, I just go to restaraunts that have menus with good labeling and a history of understanding how to handle food allergies. I only want a reasonable solution without forcing the entire world to operate around my kids issue. That’s not fair to the rest of the world but there is a reasonable compromise in the middle.

  3. The contents of some recipes are better left unknown. If you are allergic to something ask your server.

  4. Don’t complain. You voted for these people. Everyone gets the government they deserve.

  5. Welcome to California, New Jersey.

  6. So what will this silly nanny-state town do if most of its restaurants close and move operations to some other town? Why do leftists always want to dictate to everyone else how to live?

  7. CBS sites are the absolute worst among major American media companies. For computing resources needed, comments, and overall user experience.

    Two, three videos auto-launched simultaneously upon arrival? Comment filters triggered over nothing? No editing allowed? No deletion allowed? Reloading the page just to reply? Having to even click open the Comments section *again* (when landing after the reload) after signaling your intention to reply?

    An **embarrassment**.

  8. Fred Stevens says:

    There is no end to liberal tyranny.

  9. I’m Celiac, and thus very allergic to all grain products. So, while I’m all in favor of honest disclosure to avoid getting seriously ill, this bill goes too far. By making restaurateurs disclose their secret ingredients, all government is going to do is to force these restaurants to shut their doors in the city limits. And I don’t blame them.

    No sale on this one.

  10. My wife is allergic to gluten, to fish, to soy, to legumes (beans) and most fruit. This would really help us when deciding what to eat.

    1. First, prepare your own food. There is no right to have others make your dinner; consider many never even eat out in the first place because it’s not in their budgets. Are they living inadequate lives?

      Indeed, if your wife’s health is as perilously-situated as you claim, why on Earth would she take the chance of suffering an episode?

    2. The primary burden for her condition should be and is *hers*. She shouldn’t be transferring that burden to strangers (often earning very little at that) or worse, placing her life needlessly in anyone’s hands.

    3. And anyone with allergies has a moral obligation to be prepared in the event a reaction occurs.

    4. For example, carry readily-accessible health information and emergency self-administered aid at all times.

    5. The primary burden for her condition should be and is *hers*. She shouldn’t be transferring that burden to strangers (who often earn very little at that) or worse, placing her life needlessly in anyone’s hands.

      More, that’s a lot of allergies from which to suffer. Know that studies have shown that some people who’ve been diagnosed with allergies are not really allergic to the suspect substances.

    6. Last, allergies can potentially be overcome with treatment.

      Stop being the stars of every room you enter with your demands.

  11. This is dumb. More people die by lightning strike than by food related allergies. Fatal food allergies are among the rarest medical conditions known. According to the CDC, about 75 people a year die from all types of allergies combined, with 3/4ths of them dying from allergies related to insect bites or stings. Dumb dumb dumb dumb.

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