Examining New Food-Related Laws in the Commonwealth

Jul 6, 2015

While state lawmakers spent a great deal of time this year on serious ethics, education, and public safety challenges, some other issues also merited the General Assembly’s attention. One topic that did not grab many headlines, though: food.

When mobile food-vendors were being told to remove their trucks from state highway rights-of-way, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn conducted an investigation.  She said no one knows why the policy was enacted in the first place, but it was stifling entrepreneurs and innovation. 

“The Governor is focused on you know, the global economy, and let’s really focus on entrepreneurship and encouraging business and small business—and here we were stifling.”

The new law directs state officials to remove that restriction. Delegate Mark Keam responded to constituents who seldom ate at restaurants due to severe food allergies. The new law requires food allergy safety training for all restaurants. 

“We just want to make sure every restaurant has a person that has this information—is trained—so that when a young person walks in and says, ‘I have allergies,” they don’t say, ‘Well, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do, I’m sorry about that.’  That somebody will be able to say, ‘Let me get you the right person, explain to you how we serve our foods, what on our menu is good for you and what’s not,’ and just be as accommodating as possible.”

And under another new law, each public school can now hold up to 30 junk food or bake sales per year on school grounds as fundraisers.