Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) reintroduced a resolution to raise awareness and encourage the prevention of severe food allergies. The resolution aims to bring attention to the impact that food allergies have on individuals and families, as well as restaurants, retailers, and food manufacturers, and to demonstrate Congress’s support for more research on effective prevention treatments. The resolution would also designate May 28, 2021 as “National Food Allergy Prevention Awareness Day.”
“With the number of Americans living with a food allergy rising steeply we simply cannot ignore the toll it takes on millions of families, which in turn inflicts an immense cost on overall healthcare,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “That’s why it is so important we bring attention to this issue so that we can increase resources on research and prevention.”
“When you have a life-threatening food allergy, navigating life’s daily activities requires a great deal of preparation and vigilance,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “We recently celebrated the FASTER Act becoming law, which will require sesame to be labeled on package foods. The new law will give the 1.6 million people with sesame allergies to information they need to make safe food choices. With this resolution, we will continue moving in the right direction to raise awareness, educate communities, and lay the critical groundwork needed to help prevent food allergies.”
“Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. For the 30 million Americans suffering from food allergies, those attacks can be unforeseen and even life-threatening. We must invest more in the research and treatment options of food allergies,” said Congressman Ro Khanna. “Proud to join Reps. Matsui and Brownley in introducing this important resolution. With more resources, we can hopefully make this world a safer place for everyone struggling with food allergies.”
“Food allergies cause stress and financial burden for a significant percentage of families. Management strategies and treatment are extremely important. But we know there is much more that can be done to educate parents and caregivers about preventing these allergies in the first place. Education and awareness about prevention, coupled with continued research, are vitally important to minimize the impact of this problem,” said Luz Fonacier, MD, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
“On behalf of the 85 million Americans impacted by food allergies or intolerances, FARE is grateful for Reps. Brownley, Matsui, and Khanna’s leadership in recognizing May 28, 2021 as ‘Food Allergy Prevention Awareness Day,’” said Lisa Gable, President and CEO of FARE. “While food allergies are on the rise among children, working with parents, policymakers and allergists, we can prevent more children from developing food allergies through the early introduction of known allergens like egg and peanut.”
The number of Americans with food allergies has been increasing substantially over recent decades. These allergies can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life and how he or she interacts with the world. Allergies can even be life-threatening. The cost of food allergies to American families annually is $25 billion, not counting costs to businesses that seek to accommodate individuals with food allergies. The cost of labelling, liability, manufacturing accommodations, and preventative measures taken by companies, schools, and other organizations across the nation is enormous.
Recent scientific research has begun showing promising signs of ways to prevent infants from ever developing food allergies in the first place. Studies about peanut allergies, a particularly deadly allergy for many, have shown that early introduction of peanuts when a baby is around four to six months can reduce the chance of developing an allergy, depending on the baby’s risk factors. While more research is needed, these early results are a positive sign of potential future breakthroughs in preventing food allergies that could improve the lives of millions of Americans and potentially reduce costs for American businesses.