Food Allergy Research Funding

Research is the answer to solving the growing problem of food allergies—and this requires a bigger commitment from public funding.

The Need for Public Support

Some 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies. This potentially deadly disease affects one in every 13 children in the U.S. That's roughly two in every classroom. Furthermore, many more Americans are living with food allergies today than ever before, and with more severe consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there was an 18 percent increase in food allergy between 1997 and 2007 and every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. The numbers are growing and becoming more serious -- but there is no clear answer as to why. 

The increasing impact of food allergies is being felt in schools, playgrounds, restaurants, workplaces and emergency care facilities and constitutes a growing public health issue with substantial financial, educational and medical implications. 

The federal government’s commitment to identifying food allergy causes and treatments has not kept pace with the increasing incidence of food allergies – particularly in the youngest Americans – and the impact of this life-threatening disease on patients, the healthcare system, and society. In 2017, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent $78 million on food allergy research, which is double the amount allocated in 2015. But it’s still not enough.

NIH’s total budget for 2017 is $33 billion, or $102 per person living in the United States. But of that $102, less than one quarter ($0.25) goes toward food allergy research.

In 2019, FARE has requested $3 million new funding in the following area: It is currently estimated that over 32 million American suffer from food allergies including 5.6 million under the age of 18.  Considering both the health risk and impacts on quality of life for those suffering from food allergies, the Committee is concerned with the level of federal research in this important area.  Therefore, the Committee directs, within the funds provided, not less than $3 million for food allergy research particularly studies on natural tolerance, FPIES and predictive biomarkers.

Additionally, FARE has signed on to a larger request with coalition organizations, including the following requests: support robust funding for CoFAR within NIAID at the level of $85.4 million over the next seven years, the addition of subcommittee report language reflecting the importance of NIH engaging in trans-NIH research on food allergies, and that food allergies be added to the list of conditions to be eligible for research under the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) at the Department of Defense. The letter can be found here.