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Media Release March 12, 2020

The FASTER Act (S.3451) Introduced in the United States Senate

Senators Tim Scott, Chris Murphy push critical food allergy bill forward

Senators Tim Scott, Chris Murphy push critical food allergy bill forward

McLEAN, Va. (March 12, 2020) — Today, Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) announced the introduction of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act (S.3451), which would add sesame as the ninth top allergen and direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study and report back to Congress on scientific opportunities in food allergy research.

“There are 32 million Americans living with potentially life-threatening food allergies, including 1.5 million with allergies to sesame, and the Senate’s introduction of S. 3451 is a critical step forward and has the potential to permanently change the way the U.S. approaches the management, treatment and prevention of food allergies,” said FARE chief executive officer Lisa Gable. “If passed, along with the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education & Research (FASTER) Act (H.R. 2117) currently in the House of Representatives, this legislation will go a long way to bringing hope to the millions of Americans living with food allergies.”

FARE (Food Allergy Research Education), the world’s leading food allergy research, advocacy and education organization, has been fiercely advocating for the passage of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education & Research (FASTER) Act (H.R. 2117) alongside the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06), and more than 80 other legislative champions. The FASTER Act would likewise update allergen labeling laws to include sesame as the ninth top allergen and would require the federal government to gather nationwide data on the incidence and growth rates of different types of food allergies. The introduction of 3451 into the Senate comes just one week after FARE brought together nearly 150 food allergy advocates from across the country for more than 100 successful meetings on Capitol Hill urging support for this critical legislation.

Over the last decade, food allergies have become a public health crisis. Diagnoses of anaphylaxis to food, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, have risen by 377 percent in the U.S. since 2007. This landmark legislation, now making its way through both houses of Congress, would require the federal government to gather nationwide data on the incidence and growth rates of different types of food allergies and updates allergen labeling laws to include sesame. Despite the prevalence of sesame in food, 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. If signed into law, S. 3451 and H.R. 2117 would address this dangerous problem and others, making daily life safer and simpler for those with sesame allergies.

“With approximately 32 million Americans living with food allergies, it’s important for us to take targeted steps to address the growing challenges posed by food allergies and to protect those who are vulnerable,” said Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). “Nationwide, caring for children with food allergies costs an average of $25 billion annually, and can pose extreme hardships on low- and middle-income families. I look forward to my Senate colleagues supporting this bipartisan legislation and hope that we can continue to make progress for Americans affected by this issue.”

“Parents in Connecticut have told me about the dangers their children with food allergies face without clear labeling on food products. We now know that sesame allergies are widely prevalent and pose a real threat, and yet our federal labelling requirements have lagged far behind the need,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “I’m proud to partner with Senator Scott in introducing the FASTER Act, which ensures that sesame will be classified as a major food allergen and requires further reporting to Congress addressing a variety of food allergen issues. I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to advance this bill in the Senate.”

To learn more about this important food allergy legislation and to get in touch with your members of Congress in both the House and Senate, please visit the FARE website.

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About FARE

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy 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. To learn more and to register for FARE’s upcoming virtual events, including the 2020 Contains: Courage® Research Retreat and the 2020 Living Teal™ Global Summit, please visit www.foodallergy.org..

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