Illinois food allergy training regulations to take effect Jan. 1
On Friday, the state of Illinois officially added food allergy training requirements to the state's food handling regulations, according to a news release from the Colorado-based training company, MenuTrinfo, whose leadership has been closely watching the progress of the legislation.
Illinois House Bill 2510 specifies 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."
Experts at the training company say they are concerned that the measure takes effect in just four months and aims the responsibility for training at food managers, rather than food handlers. The bill does provide a six-month time window for managers to attend classes and gain certification.
"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.”
Other key provisions of the Illinois regulations include:
- Restaurant-employed certified food service sanitation managers must obtain training in basic allergen awareness principles within 30 days of employment.
- These individuals must receive updated training every three years after initial certification.
- Training programs may be repeated as often as the employee or employer desires, but must be conducted by an American National Standards Institute or other accreditation agency-certified program as specified by ASTM International E2659-09 Standard Practice for Certificate Programs.
- Restaurants whose employees receive allergen awareness training accredited under the Standard Practice for Certificate Programs meet the standard; this education is transferable between employers, but not between individuals.
From Jan. 1 to July 1, enforcement of the new standard is limited to education and employee notification of the required training.
Betsy Craig, MenuTrinfo CEO and founder of the AllerTrain program, said the regulation is sorely needed in the restaurant industry.
"Today at least 1 in every 10 diners has a special dietary request," Craig said in the release. "Making sure that if your restaurant can serve them, you can do so safely is a game changer."