Hamilton extends food allergy injector project another year

Hamilton's goal to have food allergy injectors in every food court and restaurant will live on for another year.
Marilyn Allen of Anaphylaxis Canada demonstrates how the auto injectors work with Jackson Square security guards Michael Thibodeau and Spencer Porter at the launch of the pilot program in September 2014. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Hamilton's goal to have food allergy injectors in every food court and restaurant will live on for another year.

The city's board of health voted Wednesday to continue the pilot project for another year. Right now, the epinephrine auto injectors — often known by the brand name EpiPen or Allerject — are just in Jackson Square. Security guards there carry them and are trained to use them, but have yet to need them.

The city hopes to get Eastgate Square and Lime Ridge malls on board so it can get sufficient data for McMaster University, which is analyzing the program.

The malls have said no so far, said Coun. Lloyd Ferguson of Ancaster. But he hopes a visit from Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's medical officer of health, will change that.

"This is about protecting the public and there's no liability," he said.

Anaphylaxis Canada trained the guards for the one-year project, which cost $100,000. It was due to end in September, but will now end next September.

With other malls on board, Ferguson said, the city can then use that data to get every restaurant and food court in Hamilton on board.

The Ancaster Rotary AM club initiated the project after Maia Santarelli-Gallo of Stoney Creek collapsed and died in a Burlington mall in 2013. The 12-year-old, who had been diagnosed with a mild food allergy, was eating ice cream with her family when she had an allergic reaction.

In the past 10 months, the report says, there was one "critical incident" because of food allergy in June, but the woman "self-injected" her own EAI and survived. 


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