(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Today, on International Red Sneakers Day - a global observance dedicated to supporting people living with food allergies and raising awareness through public education -Nassau County Legislator Joshua A. Lafazan (D - Woodbury) is urging Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello to schedule a public hearing for his Restaurant EpiPen Access Law, which would create a pilot program for equipping restaurants with the life-saving medicine.
Filed with the Clerk of the Legislature on March 30, Legislator Lafazan’s proposal would direct the County to provide the Nassau County Department of Health with $25,000 in seed money for the pilot program, which would equip participating restaurants with an EpiPen while supplies last. Each restaurant that receives an EpiPen would designate at least one staff member to be trained in its use. To ensure their efficacy, the County would maintain a database of recipients to ensure that EpiPens can be replaced before they expire.
About 32 million Americans live with some sort of food allergy, and every three minutes, a food allergy reaction results in an emergency room visit. Having EpiPens on site at restaurants would equip a family member or trained restaurant worker to immediately administer a potentially life-saving dose of epinephrine.
“Dedicating County resources toward equipping Nassau County’s approximately 4,100 restaurants with EpiPens would represent a tremendous advance in our efforts to protect the health and lives of residents who are living with food allergies on a daily basis,” Legislator Lafazan said. “I urge my colleagues in the Majority to join me in supporting the Restaurant EpiPen Access Law - a targeted, cost-effective approach to getting life-saving medicine into the hands of restaurant owners across Nassau County.”
The Restaurant EpiPen Access Law seeks to build upon previously enacted reforms that were spearheaded by Legislator Lafazan to increase safety and raise awareness about food allergies. Two bills sponsored by Legislator Lafazan were signed into law in the fall of 2019 to require food allergy training for restaurant employees and the posting of allergy awareness signage in areas visible to food preparation employees and patrons.