Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus Endorses FASTER Act (H.R. 2117)
Bipartisan Support from 48 Members of Congress Pushes Food Allergy Legislation Forward
McLean, Va. (December 12, 2019) – Today, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the world’s largest private funder of food allergy research, celebrates the Problem Solvers Caucus’ endorsement of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act (H.R. 2117). Once passed, this bipartisan legislation will add sesame to the list of major allergens requiring disclosure on food labels and increase funding for research into new treatments, diagnostic tools and education.
Food allergies in the United States have reached epidemic proportions. This public health crisis now affects more than 32 million Americans—roughly 10 percent of the population. With no available treatment options, patients with food allergies must adhere to strict avoidance of their allergen and, in the event of accidental exposure, administer epinephrine and rush to the emergency room. According to recent research by FAIR Health, a national, independent nonprofit organization, medical claims with diagnoses of life-threatening anaphylactic food reactions rose nearly 400 percent nationwide between 2007 and 2016.
“We are thrilled to have bipartisan support for this much-needed food allergy legislation,” said Lisa Gable, chief executive officer of FARE. “This endorsement is critical as we work tirelessly to address the growing food allergy epidemic and the life-threatening challenges 32 million Americans with food allergies face every day. We are grateful to the 48 members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Co-Chaired by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Rep. Tom Reed (NY-3), representing diverse backgrounds, districts and political ideologies for coming together to support the FASTER Act.”
The FASTER Act, introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) in April of this year, takes on the grave issue of sesame as an allergen, through more stringent requirements on labeling and disclosure. According to a recent JAMA Network Open study, more than 1.5 million Americans are allergic to sesame, a figure five times higher than the previous estimate. Despite the prevalence of this allergen in our food supply, it is not currently regulated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), the primary federal law governing how allergens are represented on packaged foods. The FASTER Act would address this dangerous problem and others, making daily life safer and simpler for those with sesame allergies.
FARE looks forward to continuing to work with the members of the Problem Solvers Caucus as well as other Congressional leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate on the passage of this important legislation. Once signed into law, millions of Americans will feel safer in their daily lives and the research community will have additional resources to discover new treatment options, diagnostic tools and, eventually, a cure.
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FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the world’s leading food allergy advocacy organization and the largest private funder of food allergy research. Our mission is to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments. FARE is transforming the future of food allergy through innovative initiatives that will lead to increased awareness, new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation and novel approaches to managing the disease. For more information, please visit www.foodallergy.org. To join FARE’s transformative five-year fundraising and awareness campaign, Contains: Courage®, supporting families living with food allergies and educating ALL communities about the disease, visit www.foodallergy.org/containscourage.