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Media Room August 10, 2023

Statement by Sung Poblete, RN, PhD, CEO of FARE, regarding the 33 million individuals in the United States with life-threatening food allergies

“In recent years, we have witnessed an alarming rise in the number of Americans living with food allergies. This unsettling trend has brought about immense challenges, not only for those directly impacted but also for the broader society as this disease affects people of all ages and backgrounds. The latest data shows that the number of Americans living with life-threatening food allergies has reached a staggering 33 million. This unprecedented figure demands our immediate attention and unwavering commitment to effect positive change and increase public awareness.

“A review on IgE-mediated food allergy published in 2020 by a team from the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research (CFAAR) at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine & Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, led by Dr. Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, estimated that “over 10% of the US population is likely to suffer from at least one IgE-mediated food allergy.” According to the U.S. Census, the U.S. population is greater than 335 million. Therefore, the FARE Research team, in coordination with CFAAR’s Dr. Gupta and Dr. Christopher Warren, PhD, estimates that the number of U.S. residents living with at least one IgE-mediated food allergy currently exceeds 33 million. As Dr. Gupta reports:

“Our studies on the prevalence of IgE-mediated food allergies—the types of food allergy that can cause rapid, life-threatening reactions—highlight a large and apparently growing public health burden. Research also shows that other types of food allergy are on the rise, such as non-IgE-mediated allergic conditions like food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), which often co-occur with IgE-mediated food allergies and pose unique challenges for those affected. It is imperative that we continue to work together to improve food allergy epidemiology, management, treatment, and prevention so that we can improve the lives of millions of patients and their families.”

“I cannot stress enough the gravity of this situation. Behind this number are countless stories of individuals and families grappling with fear, uncertainty, and the relentless struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy amidst constant vigilance. Each of these 33 million individuals represents a unique life, and we must work tirelessly to ensure they can lead full and worry-free lives. It’s personal for each of them just as it’s personal for me.

“Our mission has never been more critical: to provide support, raise awareness, and advocate for improved policies that prioritize the safety and well-being of those living with food allergies. Together, we must champion a more empathetic and inclusive society that understands the challenges faced by individuals with life-threatening food allergies. Only through understanding and empathy can we create a safer environment for all.

“We will continue to collaborate with researchers, medical professionals, and policymakers to accelerate advancements in food allergy research and life-saving treatments. By fostering innovation, we aim to transform the medical landscape and offer hope to those living with food allergies and their families. 

“As we confront this new reality of 33 million Americans facing life-threatening food allergies, I call upon all our supporters, partners, and advocates to join us in this critical endeavor. Your contributions, whether through volunteer efforts, fundraising, or spreading awareness, make a tangible difference in the lives of millions. Together let us turn this challenging statistic into a rallying cry for change, compassion, and progress. Let us seize this moment to unite as a powerful force for good, empowering each other to make a lasting impact and build a safer and more inclusive future for all.”

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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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