The U.S. Senate recently passed a bipartisan bill that would modernize labeling laws to address food allergies.
Approximately 32 million Americans suffer from food allergies, with $25 billion on average spent annually caring for children with these allergies. Approximately 1.5 million Americans, for example, are allergic to sesame.
The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act would codify sesame, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as a major food allergen. This would be effective for products introduced into interstate commerce from Jan. 1, 2023, onward.
The bill also directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to submit to Congress a report within two years of the bill’s enactment on the opportunities and challenges related to food allergies. The report would include prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic development, cures, data collection, and risk reduction.
It also would include a potential framework for modifying the federal list of major food allergens.
U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) cosponsored the bill.
The Congress members spoke about hearing from their constituents on the challenges of living with life-threatening sesame allergies.