The FASTER Act: What It Does and Why YOU Need to Help Pass It
Probably everyone has heard the expression “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” What they may not have heard is the reason why; “because it needs it!” Congress is currently considering the FASTER Act which will, amongst other things, expand the FALCPA “Top 8” allergens to include sesame as the ninth. (FYI, FALCPA stands for Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act). Here you will find a summary of what is the FASTER ACT complied by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) as well as information on their Courage at Congress Campaign to encourage your legislators to co-sponsor and show their support for the FASTER Act.
By Dave Bloom
To put it bluntly, the US is not doing an adequate job of protecting individuals coping with food allergies, EOE and FPIES. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent loosening of already lax labeling regulations to accommodate manufacturers during the COVID pandemic is a prime example of how we are often left to fend for ourselves, placing our community at risk from cross-contact reactions, anaphylaxis, and plain ignorance of the dangers and prevalence of food allergy.
The FASTER act being championed by Food allergy Research and Education (FARE) will move the country in the right direction. To summarize, the act will:
- Expand the FALCPA “Top 8” allergens to include sesame as the ninth;
- Make it significantly easier to add other allergens to the FALCPA “Top” list without requiring legislation to do so;
- Direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand the collection of information on the prevalence of food allergies for specific allergens in the United States and include such information with periodic reporting to Congress;
- Direct the FDA to report on the experience of patients undergoing food allergy therapies;
- Direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the economic costs of food allergies in the United States, both individually and for the food allergy population overall;
In short, the FASTER Act will bring food allergies to the foreground by fostering the recognition as a top US health concern it deserves.
That said, it won’t pass on its own and that’s where you come in. FARE is asking you to participate in their Courage at Congress Campaign to encourage your legislators to co-sponsor and show their support for the FASTER Act.
Below is a message from Steve Danon, Senior Vice President and Chief of Public Affairs and Communications at FARE, and Jon Hoffman, FARE’s Director of Grassroots Advocacy. Please read it, share it, and sign up to engage with your legislators to help enact the FASTER act.
Dear FARE Supporter,
It is a challenge that no one should have to face…
Not knowing if the food you are purchasing is safe for you to eat. But for the nearly 1.5 million people with a life-threatening sesame allergy, it is their daily reality. Because sesame is not required to be labeled on food, it makes it nearly impossible for people like food allergy advocate Sarah Ackerman to trust the labels on the food she purchases.
That is why Sarah and hundreds of other food allergy advocates have met face-to-face with their legislators over the past year, expressing the urgent importance of co-sponsor and passing the FASTER Act.
Now it is your chance to get involved and push this critical food allergy bill forward by engaging your legislators virtually and telling them why sesame labeling and food allergy research are so important to you.
Through the end of September, FARE is initiating the next chapter in the Courage at Congress campaign, our successful in-district advocacy campaign that gained 15 co-sponsors for the FASTER Act earlier this year.
We are currently at 92 House co-sponsors and 10 Senate co-sponsors. The goal is to obtain multiple co-sponsors before the election to show broad support for the FASTER Act and improve its chances of passage in the next session.
Our goal: Conduct at least 35 meetings with members of Congress by September 30, 2020.
Our ask: Co-sponsor the FASTER Act in the House and the Senate.
With the support of the Advocacy team, we are asking you to reach out and engage your members of Congress. You can advocate, tell your personal story, and share how labeling sesame would improve the life and health for up to 1.5 million Americans who are allergic to sesame. The FASTER Act also collects data that will help fund critical government research and bring us closer to a cure.
In case you missed the August 12 webinar on how to advocate in a time of social distancing, you can view the recorded session at the link below. Webinar: Courage at Congress: Digital Advocacy in the Age of Zoom We can’t move this bill forward without your help, so please join us today!
Source: Help Us Tell Congress to Pass the Faster Act — FARE