Hamilton will pilot food allergy injectors in restaurants

Hamilton public health is looking at putting auto-injectors in every food establishment to save the lives of people with peanut allergies. But for now, it’s starting with a single food court.
Hamilton will partner with McMaster University to put epi-pens in a food court, as a pilot project that is the first step toward having them in all restaurants in the city.

The city will put an auto-injector, often known as Epipens, in a local food court or a nationally recognized food chain as a pilot project before putting one in every city restaurant.

The pilot will start in March and run for a year, with the results assessed before it expands to every eating establishment.

The goal is to save the lives of people with serious food allergies. Coun. Lloyd Ferguson called it “the right thing to do.”

“It’s time to stop doing studies and let’s move forward,” said Ferguson. He’s a member of the Rotary Club of Ancaster A.M., which is behind the project, and he brought it to the board of health in May. The move was inspired by the death of a 12-year-old girl who died from an allergic reaction in a Burlington food court earlier this year.

Working together

Public Health Services will work with Dr. Susan Waserman at McMaster University and Anaphylaxis Canada for a project that starts on March 31, 2014. 

The city’s lawyer will also report back on the Good Samaritan Act, and how it relates to the liability of using an auto-injector on someone who is injured or dies.

The pilot study will include looking at the number of times epinephrine is used and the impact on staff and consumers.

The board of health still isn't sure how the city will fund the project. 

Waserman’s team also recommended a survey to define the problem and scope of accidental ingestion and to look at educational strategies.

City council will ratify the decision on Wednesday.


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