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Problem Solvers Caucus Endorses Bipartisan Bill Boosting Food Allergy Treatment, Research

December 17, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Problem Solvers Caucus is throwing its support behind legislation that would update allergen labeling laws, and provide increased funding for research and treatment of food allergies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. That’s one in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom.

About 40 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food, the CDC says.

In backing H.R. 2117, the bipartisan Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act, the caucus co-chaired by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D- N.J. and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., is striving to ensure food allergies are regarded as a critical public health issue.

“People with food allergies need certainty that they have access to the most accurate food labels and that we’re putting an emphasis on research to combat an issue they’re forced to deal with on a daily basis,” Reed said.

“These allergies can be life-threatening and the FASTER Act puts the health and safety of Americans first, by focusing on updating labels, boosting research, and supporting new drug development,” Rep. Gottheimer said.

The bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and now has 41 co-sponsors.

Among other things, it directs the CDC to collect data on food allergy prevalence and add food allergies to the FDA’s priorities for collecting patient experience data to support drug development.

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a coalition of 24 Democrats and 24 Republicans who seek bipartisan solutions to thorny issues.

Among the members who commented on the legislation was Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., who called it a critical step in improving “the health and safety of Americans living with food allergies.”

“I am pleased to support this measure and will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve the health and well-being of Americans,” he said.

That sentiment was seconded by Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., who said that for many coastal Virginians, “food allergies are a life-threatening condition.”

“It is important that we continue to research this growing public health issue to find better treatments and a cure,” Luria said.

“As a parent, I know how important access to safe food is for families and especially our kids,” Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., said. “This bipartisan legislation will provide important updates to our food safety laws and better protect the millions of Americans with food allergies.”

“The prevention and treatment of life-threatening food allergies is something we can all get behind,” agreed Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y. “Research and education are two of the best tools to help children and adults living with this disorder and I am proud to support this critical life-saving bipartisan legislation.”

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