Food allergies are a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition, and they are on the rise.
F.A.R.E. (Food Allergy Research & Education), a leading national advocacy group, estimates that 32 million Americans have food allergies. Food allergies affect one in 10 adults and one in 13 children and send someone to the emergency room every three minutes.
Research is underway to determine what causes food allergies, why the incidence of food allergies is rising, and what can be done to stop or slow the epidemic. Unfortunately, this research is underfunded, and it might be many years before those questions can be answered.
However, there is hope.
On April 8, 2019, Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced a federal bill in the House of Representatives that is designed to improve the health and safety of Americans with food allergies. The bill (H.R. 2117), which is called the FASTER Act (for Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research) would accelerate data on food-allergic disease, allocate CDC funding to gather disease prevalence data, issue a directive to study the consumer costs of food allergies and provide support for drug development.
In addition to providing much-needed funding, standardization, and treatment, the FASTER Act would include sesame as a top food allergen under labeling law. Under current law, food manufacturers do not have to declare when sesame is an ingredient, even though the number of individuals allergic to sesame has increased significantly over the past two decades.
As of the date of this article, 36 Congressional representatives have signed on to co-sponsor the bill, which is continuing to gain support.
F.A.R.E. has made it easy for individuals to ask their elected representatives to support the FASTER Act, by clicking here.
Allen & Allen is monitoring this legislation which, if passed, would improve the lives of millions of Americans with food allergies.