A New Beginning in New York State

With the changes in New York State leadership, it is a good time to reflect on our legislative accomplishments over the past ten years and the future for other potential opportunities. Working with activists, medical professionals and legislators and their staff, the Allergy Advocacy Association has helped create a positive change for those suffering from life threatening allergies. We look forward to even more progress in the years to come.

Albany NY skyline illustration

August 19th, 2021
By Jon Terry

Dear friends;

Greetings from Brockport. I sincerely hope all readers of our monthly e-newsletter have had a safe and healthy summer.

Now that a new state governor is taking over in Albany, I think it’s a good time to review legislative achievements of activist advocates on behalf of individuals at risk for anaphylaxis and families dealing with life-threatening allergies.

During the last 10 years in NYS, the governor has signed into law five very important bills.

    1. The Nurse Authorized Stock Epinephrine Act.
      This law authorizes public central schools the ability to obtain a non-patient prescription so they can possess and administer epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) devices in anaphylaxis emergency situations.
      NASE has been enacted in 47 states across America, including NY. According to data from the America Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, in just a few years after enactment, NASE has saved THOUSANDS of lives in central school districts all across our country.1
  1. The Emergency Allergy Treatment Act.
    This law allows an authorized public entity to stock epinephrine auto-injectors with valid non-patient specific prescription.
    Authorizes entities and public venues to stock and administer epinephrine auto-injectors in an emergency to individuals experiencing anaphylaxis emergency.2
    Authorized entities can obtain a non-patient specific prescription from a physician after taking a NYS certified training program.
    Because of this law the Allergy Advocacy Association created our Epi Near You NY anaphylaxis emergency training program. We have presented our training program to many public entities throughout Monroe County and western NY.3
  2. Gio's Law.
    Gio's Law allows certain law enforcement officers and firefighters in a city, town or village having a population of less than one million to possess and administer epinephrine by use of an epinephrine auto-injector device.
  3. Elijah's Law.
    Elijah's Law relates to requiring anaphylactic policies for child care services setting forth guidelines and procedures to be followed for both the prevention of anaphylaxis and during a medical emergency resulting from anaphylaxis.
  4. Finally, this year the governor signed legislation authorizing forest rangers, park rangers and environmental conservation police officers to possess and administer epinephrine auto-injectors.

It took activist advocates many years of teamwork to make these laws a reality. We needed lots of help from the governor, state lawmakers, state regulators and their staff members.

The Allergy Advocacy Association is very grateful to all activist advocates in our state. By working together in a cooperative and collegial fashion, I believe we have achieved a lot.

Restaurants remain a challenging environment for families with life threatening food allergies. According to a 2017 CDC Report on Restaurants in a number of locations (including NY):

  • Nearly half of reported fatal food allergy reactions over a 13-year period were caused by food from a restaurant or other food service establishment
  • Of 278 restaurants included, less than half of managers (44.4%), food workers (40.8%), and servers (33.3%) reported receiving any food allergy training
  • 25% of managers surveyed reported having no lists of ingredients for any menu items
  • More than 1 in 10 managers, food workers, and servers incorrectly believed that a person could safely consume small amounts of a specific allergen — even small amounts of an allergen can cause an anaphylactic reaction and fatal consequences.4

Our association supports any and all efforts reducing anaphylaxis emergencies, particularly in public locations. There are two bills currently introduced into the legislature intended to improve restaurant staff training, signage and menu labels.

A1027/S5681 — Restaurant Training
Requires food allergy awareness training for all food establishments to be completed by all food safety managers, with at least one trained food safety manager on site at all times. Training will include information on all the major allergens, how to prevent cross-contact in the kitchen, what allergic reactions look like, and what to do if someone is having a reaction.

Bill A1307/S5726 — Menu Labeling
Requires food service establishments to display a food-allergy awareness poster in all staff areas and requires the labeling of the 8 major food allergens on all food service establishment or internet-based food delivery service menus, or on a separate allergy menu.

The next session of the legislature begins January 2022. The NYS budget must be enacted by April 1st; lawmakers spend almost all of March working on taxing and spending.

Our association will host Food Allergy Awareness day again next spring. We will keep everyone informed about any new developments and opportunities for advocacy.

While there are many things still to be done, I think we have reasonable expectations of what we can achieve. But only if we use the same collaborative approach that was previously successful.

As for our "new beginning" here in NYS, let's all join together for the benefit of everyone, most particularly anyone at risk for anaphylaxis thru life-threatening allergies.

Best wishes for a very safe, enjoyable and pleasant end to the summer season!

Terry, co-founder of the Allergy Advocacy Association

Copyright Allergy Advocacy Association 2021

  1. EpiPen4Schools Survey: Characteristics of Anaphylaxis and Common Triggers.
  2. Entities and public venues include restaurants, youth organizations, sports leagues, theme parks, sport arenas, day care and educational facilities.
  3. List of our presentations includes Saint John Fisher College department of Security, the University of Rochester School of Nursing, Roberts Wesleyan University Health Center, Monroe Community College School of Nurses Association, BOCES Dental Associates training program, RIT Student EMT Association.
  4. Radke, T. J., Brown, L. G., Hoover, E. R., Faw, B. V., Reimann, D., Wong, M. R., ... & Ripley, D. (2016). Food allergy knowledge and attitudes of restaurant managers and staff: an EHS-Net study. Journal of food protection79(9), 1588-1598.

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