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.