WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, hailed new guidelines issued today by the Centers for Disease Control on how schools should prevent and respond to potentially fatal allergic reactions among students. The guidelines were required under Congresswoman Lowey’s Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act, which was enacted as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in 2010.
“With such a high number of children with food allergies and such great risks, it was time for our federal government to act. For far too long, states and school districts have lacked the resources to create a framework for helping students with food allergies stay safe,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “These new federal guidelines are a big step towards protecting the millions of children with potentially fatal food allergies and giving their parents the confidence that their children will stay safe and healthy at school.”
Passed by the House in 2008 and enacted as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act in January 2010, Congresswoman Lowey’s Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act (H.R. 2063) directed the HHS Secretary to develop guidelines for schools to voluntarily implement measures to prevent students’ exposure to food allergens and ensure a prompt response when children suffer a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction.
More than eleven million Americans suffer from food allergies. Each year, several hundred food allergy sufferers die and an estimated 30,000 receive life-saving treatments in emergency rooms due to food-induced anaphylaxis. Avoiding foods that contain allergy-producing ingredients can be particularly difficult for children whose time is often spent at school or in the care of individuals other than a parent.
Lowey is also the author of Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act that required food packaging to clearly list the eight most common food allergens, including milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, Crustacean shellfish, soy, and wheat, as well any food allergens used in spices, natural or artificial flavorings, additives, and colorings. It also required the Food & Drug Administration to issue a uniform standard for the term “gluten-free,” which was released earlier this year. The legislation was first introduced by Lowey in 1999 and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004.