On July 27, 2013, At 13 years old, Natalie Giorgi passed away due to an allergic reaction to peanuts while attending camp. Thus began the process for the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Act.
After this tragic incident, things started to change in California. As of July 30th, 2019, this act was approved by the Governor. The contents of this Act highlight the information around food allergens, their reactions, and how we will educate food handlers on food allergies.
In the state of California, the legislature has dictated these things to be true:
a. As many as 15,000,000 people in the United States have a food allergy.
b. Research indicates the prevalence of food allergies is increasing among children. Nearly 6,000,000 children under 18 years of age have a food allergy.
c. The eight foods that cause the majority of all food allergy reactions in the United States are fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and wheat.
d. Symptoms of a food allergy reaction include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and swelling of the throat. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death.
e. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies result in more than 200,000 ambulatory care visits a year involving children under 18 years of age. The number of food allergy reactions requiring emergency treatment has sharply increased over the last decade, with a 377-percent rise in individuals receiving medical treatment for anaphylaxis. Reactions typically occur when an individual unknowingly eats a food containing an ingredient to which the individual is allergic.An act to amend Section 113948 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to food facilities.
As of January 1, 2021, changes in Basic Food Handler training programs will need to reflect the new requirements set forth by this amendment. There are no foreseen changes to eFoodHandlers‘ Basic Food Handlers Training Program. Download the poster below to hang in your kitchens to make sure that employees and students stay informed and reminded of food allergies and their severities.
In remembrance for Natalie Giorgi, we hope she rests in paradise and that the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Act will save the lives of many to come. To her family, we send our deepest sympathies and apologies. We hope that by educating the people of the US on food safety and food allergens, we are able to serve her memory well.