FS1405:                 Flip the Fear: Food Allergen Lawsuits, Training Requirements, and Tools

Speakers:            Betsy Craig; Kevin McMaster, MBA; Victoria Griffith, CP-FS; David Crownover


The number of individuals with food allergies in the U.S. continues to rise each year.   With recent rulings by the FDA and a host of lawsuits over how food allergic diners are treated in the foodservice industry, it can be a scary subject to approach in a food establishment. This session will cover current regulations and training requirements, provide tools for you to flip the fear, and create a safe atmosphere for those with special dietary needs.



Food safety in today's public health environment can be scary. Regulations about food allergies are relatively sporadic on the state level, with only two states (Massachusetts and Rhode Island) currently mandating allergen awareness training. Massachusetts was the first to develop mandatory allergen awareness training, which resulted in overwhelming positive feedback from the allergic community. Rhode Island have recently followed suit with other jurisdictions considering similar regulations.

Recent rulings by the FDA and ADA require public health professionals to make wide-reaching changes to their menus and staff training today's environment requires a careful menu analysis, including reverse ingredient look up, with an eye toward top allergens. Recipe changes must be identified to allow more gluten-free or allergen-free options. Training on food handling procedures must be expanded to ensure safe delivery of meals to diners with food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities.

This presentation is meant to help health inspectors understand the depth and breadth of food allergies in the United States and the impact they are having on the foodservice industry, what to consider if moving towards allergen awareness training and finally provide them with the tools they need to create a food safety culture - and flip the fear.