Why I Support the FASTER Act

Guest post by Stacey Saiontz

Today, we are asking advocates to call their legislators and ask for support of the FASTER Act on FARE's first annual Virtual Hill Day.  These calls will be occurring the same time as FARE staff are meeting with legislators on the Hill, with the goal of building the number of co-sponsors on this important piece of legislation.  FARE Advocate Stacey Saiontz is a strong supporter of FASTER, in her own words:

As the mother of a food allergic son, I am extremely interested in advocating for the FASTER Act because this legislation will improve the lives of the millions of individuals living with food allergies in the United States.  By advocating for this bill, I can do my part in helping to better the lives of those living with food allergies. 

From left to right: Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, Stacey Saiontz & Assemblymember Al Taylor

Among other things, the FASTER Bill will enable the FDA to add sesame to the labeling laws.   As of now, companies do not need to label for sesame in the United States, though they do in other countries.  This means that whenever I find a new product for my child, I need to take the time to call the company to inquire whether sesame is included in the ingredient list.  Unfortunately, because companies in the United States are not currently required to label for sesame, they can “hide” sesame under natural flavors.  Often times, when I call a company, the company tells me that the natural flavors are proprietary and will not reveal whether or not sesame is included.  If companies agreed to label for sesame, the ingredients would be transparent and would allow individuals with food allergies purchase more products safely.  As my son states, “Labeling for sesame doesn’t hurt anyone but it can save lives.”    Companies already have to label for Sesame on their same products in others countries so it will not produce an undue burden on them to reveal sesame in the United States.   The transparency will only help save lives and enable more people to safely buy their products.  

Additionally, the FASTER bill will help collect information about exposure to food allergens and prevalence of allergens that will aid policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch.  I feel lucky to be able to advocate for this important piece of legislation that will make a difference in the lives of so many people.  

If you want to join Stacey, click here today and make your voice heard.

Stacey Saiontz is an advocacy leader and food allergy mom.