FARE Endorsed Maryland Public School Bill Signed Into Law
New Law Protects 73,000+ Food Allergic Students
May 24, 2023 (McLean, VA) – FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), the nation’s leading non-profit organization engaged in food allergy advocacy, and the largest private funder of food allergy research, applauds Maryland State Del. Julie Palakovich Carr, Maryland State Sen. Clarence Lam, M.D. and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on the recent passage and signing of H.B. 78: Public Schools – Anaphylactic Food Allergies – Guidelines and Requirements, in Annapolis on May 16.
The new law is a huge win for the 73,000+ Maryland food allergy families with school-aged children because it updates the voluntary guidance that the State’s Departments of Education and Health established in 2009 that was being ignored by most of the School Districts with requirements that all 24 city and county public school districts must follow before the start of the 2024-25 school year.
“We are so appreciative of Del. Palakovich Carr and Sen. Clarence Lam’s tireless efforts and leadership in bringing about this legislation,” says Jason Linde, Senior Vice President, Advocacy, FARE. “Their dedication to protecting Maryland’s food allergic children with this new law sends a strong signal that when voluntary guidance is not being complied with putting thousands of students of risk, then the state will take action to protect the two food allergic children in every classroom.”
Since that 2009 voluntary guidance was issued, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over the past 20 years, the rates of children with food allergies has more than doubled and for children with a peanut or tree nut allergy, it has tripled. Life-threatening food allergies and the risk of fatal anaphylaxis are growing at an even faster rate among Black and Asian-American children.
Del. Palakovich Carr, a food allergy Mom, and Sen. Lam, a medical doctor, collaborated on legislation that requires each city or county board of education, before the start of the 2024-2025 school year, to adopt, implement, and publish guidelines in accordance with the State school health service guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic major food allergens in classrooms and common areas. It also requires each public school to develop a system to disclose the major food allergens contained in the foods served in the school and each county board must make a good faith effort to adopt certain guidelines.
Said Linde, “We are grateful that the new law also requires the disclosure of all top-nine allergens in school meals online to protect and inform students, parents, and caregivers and FARE encourages all states to follow Maryland’s lead.”
Del. Carr, Sen. Lam, and Jason Linde all testified on behalf of the legislation on January 24.
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FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the nation’s leading non-profit engaged in food allergy advocacy as well as the largest private funder of food allergy research. FARE’s innovative education, advocacy and research initiatives transform the future of food allergy through new and improved treatments and prevention strategies, effective policies and legislation, and novel approaches to managing the disease. To learn more, visit: foodallergy.org.