Senate passes food allergies awareness bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- County governments soon may have authority to make restaurants accommodate customers with food allergies.

POLL: Should restaurants be forced to accommodate diners with food allergies? -- CLICK to participate.

A new bill would let counties require each restaurant to have a staff member trained on food allergens, ready to advise customers. The bill would also require restaurants statewide to encourage customers to notify servers about their food allergies.

The Senate passed the measure 33-14 Monday evening. A similar bill is pending in a House committee.

Restaurants could post an advisory on the menu, asking customers with allergies to notify their servers. Or the server could ask before taking customers' orders.

The Senate version, introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin of Montgomery County, would not apply to service stations or vendors at carnivals and fairs.

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