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Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 17, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. MATSUI. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of two of my bills being considered today: the FASTER Act and the MODERN Labeling Act.

There are more than 32 million Americans living with potentially life-threatening food allergies who rely on accurate food ingredient labels to make safe decisions for themselves and their family members.

Under current law, mandatory labeling is required for major food allergens recognized by the FDA, like milk, eggs, and peanuts. My grandson Robby has a peanut allergy, and for families like mine, checking food labels is as vital to our everyday lives as breathing.

Unfortunately, FDA labeling requirements do not include the ingredient sesame, leaving more than 1.6 million Americans with a sesame allergy in the dark about what foods and products to avoid. That is why I have been working closely with my colleagues and advocates in the food allergy community to advance the FASTER Act, legislation that updates food allergen labeling laws to include sesame.

Importantly, the FASTER Act also lays critical groundwork for conducting the research necessary to better understand, treat, and, one day, prevent food allergies.

From ingredients in a food product to the prescribing information for a prescription drug, FDA labels play a critical role in protecting public health and empowering Americans to make safe decisions.

This year, our friends in the cancer community brought a real problem to my attention. Despite the important role drug labels play in informing treatment decisions, many generic drug labels are considerably out of date, and there is no existing mechanism to update these labels to reflect new clinical evidence.

That is why I introduced the MODERN Labeling Act, legislation that supports FDA's ability to require modifications to outdated generic drug labels so they reflect new, relevant information.

Accurate, up-to-date generic drug labels are key to optimizing use, enhancing patient benefit, and facilitating greater use of lower cost generics.

These are both important labeling laws, and both labeling bills are bipartisan, commonsense solutions that take important steps to safeguard our public health. I urge my colleagues to support the FASTER Act and the MODERN Labeling Act.