E-Greetings from the Allergy Advocacy Association

January 2023

Happy January,

In the spirit of mixed blessings as the new near gets underway, we observe the passage of the FASTER Act, which adds sesame as the 9th allergen food manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants to need to add to their food labels. Along with others in the food allergy community, we worked very hard on this legislation. But in 2023, we discover that to cut production and marketing costs, food manufacturers are now adding sesame flower to many products and including sesame on all labeling. In addition to the two articles that walk you through the details, we’ll be following FARE’s recommendations on letting the FDA know food manufacturers need to ensure consumer safety with correct implementation of the FASTER Act.

It is well known that broad based availability of epinephrine is key to saving lives. A clever use of crowd sourcing near by epinephrine enabled by device finding technology is beginning to roll out. Find out how New York State can help.

Epi pricing continues to be an issue. High deductible insurance plans on the ACA market places are affecting families ability to afford EAIs.

What is anaphylaxis? How would you recognize an anaphylaxis emergency?  And would you know what are the right things to do? For many people, even those that have a life-threatening allergy, the answer is no.

The Allergy Advocacy Association has a solution: Near You New York anaphylaxis emergency training program. This life saving program can be delivered via webinar or at your location.

Upon completion you receive:

  • Free state approved training presentation,
  • New York State recognized certification, and
  • Assistance for public entities to obtain a non-patient specific prescription for emergency epinephrine

Find more information on our this training program here.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for your business, school, or group.

Best wishes to one and all!

Sesame Joins the Major Food Allergens List, FDA Says

Great news! The FASTER Act is now officially the 9th allergen requiring food manufacturers to include sesame on all food labels where sesame is present.

Sesame Joins the Major Food Allergens List, FDA Says

A pile of sesame seeds on a light blue surface

By Kristen Rogers
January 2, 2023

Sesame has joined the list of major food allergens defined by law, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The change, which went into effect on January 1, comes as a result of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act, or FASTER Act, which was signed into law in April 2021.

The FDA has been reviewing whether to put sesame seeds on the major food allergens list — which also includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans — for several years. Adding sesame to the major food allergens list means foods containing sesame will be subject to specific food allergen regulatory requirements, including those regarding labeling and manufacturing.

Sesame allergies affect people of all ages and can appear as coughing, itchy throat, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth rash, shortness of breath, wheezing and drops in blood pressure, Dr. Robert Eitches, an allergist, immunologist and attending physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told CNN in 2020.

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People with Allergies Have to Be a Lot More Careful in 2023

While FASTER being the law of the land as of January 1, 2023, Lauren Harkawik details how food manufacturers are working against the intent of the Act by adding sesame to more foods and including it on all labels. While some grocers, restaurants and manufacturers are implementing FASTER correctly (nice job Whole Foods) many are using this work around that is endangering our community.

People With Allergies Have to Be a Lot More Careful in 2023

Olive Garden bread sticks made with sesame flour

By Lauren Harkawik
January 12, 2023

On January 1, the FASTER Act (which stands for Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research) went into effect at the federal level. One of the major elements of the law was adding sesame to the list of “major allergens” that restaurants and food manufacturers are required to flag as an ingredient. One would think this change would make it easier for people with sesame allergies to navigate eating at restaurants. Unfortunately, it could have the opposite effect.

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Keeping Track of your EAIs

Epi Reminder, a nifty app using trusted technology makes it possible to crowd source near by epinephrine in the case of anaphylaxis emergencies. Call us intrigued.

Keeping Track of your EAIs

2 Epi Pens and 1 Epireminder device in a package

By Toni Taylor
January 20, 2023

Our association is always watching for new ideas, innovations and technology helping individuals and family members with life-threatening allergies. We know from first-hand experience how much support people at risk for anaphylaxis really need every day.

In pursuit of our shared goal of not another life lost to life threatening allergies, the focus of the Epi Near You New York program is broad based availability of epinephrine. This includes teaching everyone in New York State how to recognize when and how to administer it.

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More Families Suffering Epinephrine “Sticker Shock” Due to High-Deductable Plans

The health exchanges created in response to the passage of the Affordable Care Act have been very helpful in helping more people get access to affordable health care. Many of the lower cost plans have high deductibles, often increasing the cost of EAIs for families managing life threatening allergies.

More Families Suffering Epinephrine “Sticker Shock” Due to High-Deductable Plans

100 dollar bill with 6 EpiPen images spaced evenly across the bill

With the new year, Neri was shocked to learn that a twin pack of the exact same epinephrine would cost her $600, meaning her out-of-pocket costs would balloon 20-fold to $2,400.

“It was a little embarrassing to say, ‘I can’t do this right now,’” Neri told NBC News.

The epinephrine itself had not risen in price. What happened is that Neri’s family had switched to a high-deductible health insurance plan to save money. Monthly payments are generally lower with such plans but their deductibles — the amount you must spend before insurance coverage kicks in — is much higher, leaving families responsible for thousands of dollars each year before certain costs — often epinephrine auto-injectors — are covered.

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