How We’ll Fight for Food Allergy Research Funding

By Jon Hoffman

Jon Hoffman

More than 32 million people have food allergies. Treatments and a cure will be found the same way they’re found for other major diseases—through research.

Unfortunately food allergy research is severely underfunded, compared to both to the size of the epidemic and the funding provided for other diseases with fewer patients. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the federal government agency that oversees disease research, has a total budget of about $120 per US resident. Of that funding, food allergies receive only 19 cents per person.

Together, we will change this. FARE has made a commitment to dramatically increase funding allocated to food allergy research so that we can fund the extraordinary research opportunities that are currently not funded and accelerate the development of cures. We’re going to need your voices to make that happen. 

We’re going to start with a quick (and mostly painless!) overview of how the government funds research.

How does the NIH get the money it spends on research?

Each year, Congress goes through a process called “appropriations,” where our elected officials decide how to spend about $1.5 trillion of the federal budget. In its most recent budget, Congress provided—and the President approved—$39 billion for NIH. 

NIH is a collection of individual institutes that focus on specific conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma and allergies. Institutes also frequently collaborate on areas of joint interest. The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, is the lead institute for food allergies.  

After the overall NIH budget is determined, each institute gets its share and can determine how to spend it.

This year, $62 million of NIH’s $39 billion budget—or just 19 cents for each American—has been spent on food allergy research.

What are we going to do about it?

The budgeting process includes lots of steps and we can influence almost every one of them. We will work with:

  1. Legislators who determine how much money NIH gets
  2. Other Members of Congress who get to vote on whether to approve the NIH budget
  3. The President, who needs to sign the bill that funds NIH
  4. NIH officials, who decide how to spend the money each institute has been allocated

FARE has already started this process. Just last week, we met with NIH officials to talk about the opportunities in food allergy research and our goal to dramatically increase funding

But to get more funding, we need your help.

We’ll be asking FARE advocates to meet with their Members of Congress when they’re back home this fall. We’ll be pushing research forward by both asking them to pass the FASTER Act and educating them on our funding goals to make sure food allergies are a priority in the appropriations process.

If you haven’t already, please sign up for FARE’s advocacy email list. We’ll keep you updated on our progress.

Together, we’ll make this happen!