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 (H.R. 2117) 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 Food Allergy Research & Education (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. 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.”
Lisa Gable, FARE CEO
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. 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.