Government Relations


Statewide Restaurant Legislation

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Restaurant Laws in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Virginia

Massachusetts and Rhode Island became the first states in the U.S. to pass legislation related to restaurants and customers with food allergies.

Under the new laws, restaurants are required to display a food allergy awareness poster in the employee area. Restaurants are also required to place a notice on their menus (or menu boards, etc.) asking customers to inform the restaurant if anyone in their party has a food allergy.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the new laws require certified food protection managers (i.e., restaurant managers and/or senior employees) to receive food allergy training via a video, and obtain a certificate showing that they have received the training.

Learn more about the state laws:

  • Illinois
    Illinois law, HB2510, was signed into law on August 25, 2017. Amends the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act. Provides that all food service establishments shall have at least one certified food service sanitation manager who has undergone training that follows nationally recognized industry standards for allergen safety and allergen awareness available on the premises at all times that the food service establishment is in operation. Provides that all individuals seeking food service sanitation manager certification or food service sanitation manager recertification shall undergo training that follows nationally recognized industry standards for allergen safety and allergen awareness. Provides that any costs for the allergen safety and allergen awareness training shall be borne by the individual seeking the training. Effective immediately.

  • Maryland
    This bill requires that, beginning March 1, 2016, restaurants request that patrons with known food allergies notify the employee taking the customer’s food order of the allergies prior to ordering food. The bill also requires DHMH to establish online lists of (1) approved food allergen awareness training courses and accredited tests and (2) resources about food safety and food handling related to food allergies.

  • Massachusetts
    The Act Relative to Food Allergy Awareness in Restaurants (FAAA) was signed into law by Governor Patrick in January 2009. The purpose of the Act is to minimize risk of illness and death due to accidental ingestion of food allergens by increasing restaurant industry and consumer awareness of regulations and best practices with respect to major food allergens.

    The Act requires that certain food establishments comply with regulations developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) that will include provisions for the prominent display of a food allergy awareness poster in the staff area of food establishments, a notice on menus for consumers with food allergies, and additional food allergy training for certified food protection managers. The FAAA also requires the Department to develop a program for restaurants to be designated as "Food Allergy Friendly'' (FAF) and to maintain a listing of restaurants receiving that designation on the Department’s website. Participation in the FAF program will be voluntary. The Department has asked that a representative from local health be added to the workgroup for designing the FAF guidelines and requirements for restaurants to receive the designation. The requirements will include, but not be limited to, maintaining on the premises and making available to the public, a master list of all the ingredients used in the preparation of each food item available for consumption and strict adherence to procedures that prevent cross contamination.

  • Michigan
    Michigan law was signed into law in January 2015 and requires certified food safety managers in most restaurants to take a training course with an allergen awareness component.

  • Rhode Island
    The director of health shall establish a food allergy awareness program which shall require that every food-service establishment shall: (1) Have prominently displayed a poster approved by the director relative to food allergy awareness in the staff area. The poster shall provide, but not be limited to, information regarding the risk of an allergic reaction and shall be developed by the department of health in consultation with the Rhode Island hospitality association and at least one representative from a quick service restaurant; (2) Include on all menus a notice to customers of the customer’s obligation to inform the server about any food allergies. The director shall develop and approve the language of the notice in consultation with the Rhode Island hospitality association and at least one representative from a quick service restaurant; and (3) Designate a manager who shall be knowledgeable with regard to the relevant issues concerning food allergies as they relate to food preparation. The director shall prepare and provide both written and video materials for mandatory review by persons designated as managers of any food-service establishment, or the persons designated as managers shall be certified by a food protection manager certification program that is evaluated and listed by a conference for food protection-recognized accrediting agency as conforming to the conference for food protection standards for accreditation of food protection manager certification programs. The department of health shall include knowledge of food allergy issues as part of the certification procedure for managers in food safety pursuant to chapter 21-27 of the Rhode Island general laws.

  • Virginia
    Virginia law, HB2090, was signed into law in 2015. Regulations of the Board governing restaurants shall include but not be limited to the following subjects: (i) a procedure for obtaining a license; (ii) the safe and sanitary maintenance, storage, operation, and use of equipment; (iii) the sanitary maintenance and use of a restaurant's physical plant; (iv) the safe preparation, handling, protection, and preservation of food, including necessary refrigeration or heating methods; (v) procedures for vector and pest control; (vi) requirements for toilet and cleansing facilities for employees and customers; (vii) requirements for appropriate lighting and ventilation not otherwise provided for in the Uniform Statewide Building Code; (viii) requirements for an approved water supply and sewage disposal system; (ix) personal hygiene standards for employees, particularly those engaged in food handling; (x) the appropriate use of precautions to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases; and (xi) training standards that address food safety and food allergy awareness and safety.

FAACT will advocate for statewide restaurant legislation. If you are interested in advocating in your state, please Contact Us.