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Media Room February 26, 2021

FASTER Act for Sesame Labeling Introduced in the U.S. Senate

Critical legislation would add sesame as a major allergen; prioritize food allergy research. Same version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this week.

McLean, Va. (February 26, 2021) – Today, FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research, announced the introduction of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act of 2021in the United States Senate. The bipartisan bill, which is FARE’s highest legislative priority, was introduced by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The introduction comes the same week that Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA-6) and Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) introduced the same bipartisan bill, Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act of 2021 (H.R. 1202) in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“In the course of just a few days, we have seen tremendous momentum for this critical piece of bipartisan legislation, which will benefit the nearly 1.6 million Americans who are allergic to sesame, who with their loved ones, live with the constant anxiety that sesame may be in the food products they purchase,” said Lisa Gable, chief executive officer of FARE. “We thank Senator Scott and Senator Murphy for introducing this important legislation and I am hopeful that this bill will soon be passed into law.” 

The FASTER Act would require that sesame be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods. Sesame would become the ninth food allergen for which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires plain-language labeling. Sesame is often used when a label reads “natural flavors” or “natural spices,” adding another layer of difficulty when consumers review product labels at their local grocery store.

The bill would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a report on scientific opportunities in food allergy research that examines prevention, treatment, and new cures. In addition, the legislation establishes a risk-based scientific process and framework for establishing additional allergens covered by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. 

Said Gable, “I am delighted that Senators Collins (R-ME), Gillibrand (D-NY), Tillis (R-NC), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Baldwin (D-WI) are demonstrating their support for the food allergy community as original co-sponsors of this life-changing legislation.”

FARE will now begin meeting virtually with legislators to gain support for the bipartisan FASTER Act and will mobilize advocates to ask their representatives to sign on as cosponsors. The legislation will be front and center when FARE hosts its second annual advocacy event, Courage at Congress 2021: Advocate for a Cure, taking place virtually on March 8-10.

For more information on the importance of the FASTER Act, please visit foodallergy.org/faster.

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About FARE

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the nation’s leading non-profit engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest food allergy charity supporting 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.

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