FASTER Act Would Make Food Allergies a Public Health Priority, Add Sesame as Allergen

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in Food Allergy, News, Soy & Seed
Published: April 8, 2019
Rep. Doris Matsui

A U.S. federal bill that includes a package of measures aimed at improving the health and safety of Americans with food allergies and accelerate data on food-allergic disease was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 8.

Called the FASTER Act (for Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research), the bill covers a wide range of elements, including: CDC funding to gather disease prevalence data, the inclusion of sesame as a top food allergen under labeling law, a directive to study the costs to the consumer of food allergies, support for drug development and more.

Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) said: “I am pleased to introduce this commonsense bill that draws attention to food allergens as a public health issue. I hope this legislation will provide progress treating allergens and improving the lives of those suffering from them.”

FASTER is based on proposals from a 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which called for standardized national prevalence statistics, education, access to treatment and awareness for food allergies. The non-profit FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) was a key funder of that study.

An April 8 FARE news release says: “The introduction of the FASTER Act is the culmination of more than a year of legislator education, policy refinement and advocacy by FARE, resulting in legislation that will improve the lives of the millions of Americans with food allergies.”

“Food allergy is a growing public health crisis for which there is no cure, and the FASTER Act will provide crucial support for patients whose only current course of treatment is avoidance and a trip to the emergency room,” said FARE CEO Lisa Gable.

To help move the bill forward, see an easy signup form to urge your Representative to support – click here.

Below is FARE’s news release:
Introduction of Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act Highlights Need for Food Allergy Research and Treatments


WASHINGTON, April 8, 2019 –
Today, the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act, a package of federal policy changes that will improve the health, safety and inclusion of the 32 million Americans living with food allergies, was introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).

The policy proposals in the legislation are based on the recommendations from a November 2016 consensus panel convened by the National Academy of Medicine. This landmark study recognized food allergy as a critical public safety issue and provided recommendations to guide federal policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch. The introduction of the FASTER Act is the culmination of more than a year of legislator education, policy refinement and advocacy by FARE, resulting in legislation that will improve the lives of the millions of Americans with food allergies.

“As we convene more than 100 food allergy researchers and members of FARE’s Clinical Network this weekend to discuss new avenues for food allergy research at our annual Research Retreat, it is encouraging to see partners in Congress who recognize the importance of understanding the financial burden of living with food allergies and protecting the food allergy community,” said FARE CEO Lisa Gable.

“Rep. Matsui is a passionate advocate for the 32 million Americans living with food allergies. Food allergy is a growing public health crisis for which there is no cure, and the FASTER Act will provide crucial support for patients whose only current course of treatment is avoidance and a trip to the emergency room,” she said.

The FASTER Act would provide funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to collect data on food allergy prevalence, add sesame to the list of covered allergens in the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) while also creating flexibility for emerging allergens, direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the economic costs of living with food allergies, and add food allergies to the FDA’s priorities for collecting patient experience data to support drug development.

“Food allergies impact the daily lives of so many Americans, including our friends and family members,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Some of these food allergies can be serious and potentially be life-threatening diseases, and it’s become abundantly clear to me that we need more research and evidence-based solutions to help understand, treat, and maybe one day prevent food allergies. I am pleased to introduce this commonsense bill that draws attention to food allergens as a public health issue. I hope this legislation will provide progress treating allergens and improving the lives of those suffering from them.”

FARE believes the FASTER Act provides an opportunity to put politics aside and hopes Congress will move quickly to pass the legislation, prioritizing the health of millions of Americans living with food allergies. FARE will be meeting with legislators to try to gain support for the bill, and will be working to mobilize advocates to ask their legislators to sign on as cosponsors.