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FARE Blog May 20, 2020

Rep. Doris Matsui Honors Food Allergy Awareness Week in Congressional Record

The congresswoman who introduced the FASTER Act urges continued support for federal legislation to label sesame and fund food allergy research.

Congressional record

This past week, FARE’s advocacy efforts made history as Food Allergy Awareness Week and FARE’s legislative push for sesame labeling were memorialized in the Congressional Record on May 15, 2020 thanks to Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-6). Rep. Matsui shed light on the significance of Food Allergy Awareness Week and called on Congressional colleagues to continue to support the food allergy community, citing the progress of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act, H.R. 2117.

“This is a special week for the more than 32 million Americans living with potentially life-threatening food allergies,” said Rep. Matsui. “Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 10-16, is dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges our food allergy families and friends face each and every day.”

The Congressional Record is the official document of Congressional actions on a given day, capturing floor statements, votes, introductions of bills and resolutions. To be named or included in the Congressional Record is a distinguished honor, as it demonstrates the influence and effectiveness of constituent advocacy to engage Senators and Representatives. 

In addition to commemorating Food Allergy Awareness Week, Rep. Matsui added that this year’s recognition comes at a critical time, as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Matsui called attention to how food allergy families have experienced additional challenges in this period including lack of access to safe and affordable foods, and how the threat of contracting the coronavirus is keeping people away from visiting emergency rooms, leading to a change in the way they prepare for emergency care related to anaphylaxis

Last year, Matsui wrote and introduced the FASTER Act that would require sesame be added to the list of allergens that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires be labeled by name in packaged foods, joining the top 8 allergens for which labeling is currently required: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat and soy. The FASTER Act is the first meaningful food allergy legislation at the federal level in more than a decade and would improve the lives of millions of Americans.

“Individuals and families with food allergies are resilient, and I have long been inspired by their courage to navigate life’s challenges,” Rep. Matsui expressed. “That’s why I have been working for the past year with FARE, the world’s leading food allergy advocacy organization, to improve the quality of life for the more than 1.5 million Americans allergic to sesame. I urge my colleagues to join with me in support of the more than 32 million Americans affected by life-threatening food allergies.”

If you are interested in learning more about the FASTER Act and the importance of ongoing legislation efforts, FARE will host a virtual Conversation with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-6) this Wednesday, May 20 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Rep. Matsui, who will be joined by FARE Chief Executive Officer Lisa Gable, will share how Congress is working to protect and help Americans during COVID-19, provide updates on the FASTER Act, and take audience questions. Register today!
 

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