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Matsui, McHenry, Luria, Gonzalez Introduce Bipartisan FASTER Act

Press Release

Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), and Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Elaine Luria (D-VA), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) introduced the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act, legislation that will improve the safety of those in the food allergy community and expand the research necessary to find new treatments.

The FASTER Act (H.R. 1202) would require sesame labeling on packaged foods by adding it to the list of major food allergens recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a report on scientific opportunities in food allergy research that examines prevention, treatment, and new cures. In addition, the legislation establishes a risk-based scientific process and framework for establishing additional allergens covered by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

"For individuals and families with food allergies, accurate ingredient labels are vital to making everyday decisions and avoid potentially life-threatening consequences," said Congresswoman Matsui. "Unfortunately, current FDA labeling requirements do not include sesame, leaving nearly 1.6 million Americans with a sesame allergy to fend for themselves. Thanks to an amazing outpouring of grassroots advocacy last Congress we had over 90 bipartisan cosponsors on the FASTER Act. I am proud to reintroduce this bill with my bipartisan colleagues, and together we are encouraged that support for labeling sesame will only grow in this new Congress. Food allergy families are truly resilient, and together we are working hard to make sure that this bill gets across the finish line."

"Over 1.5 million people are allergic to sesame, yet there is no requirement to include the ingredient on product labels," said Rep. McHenry. "The FASTER Act changes this, providing a much-needed update to allergen labeling laws to include sesame. Additionally, the bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to regularly review promising food allergy treatments and research, enabling us to better treat the millions of Americans that suffer from these life-threatening allergies."

"The FASTER Act makes purchasing food for people with food allergies safer by adding sesame to food allergen labels," said Rep. Luria. "This additional safeguard should give consumers peace of mind while helping to protect the millions of Americans who are at risk. Congress works best when we are able to tackle problems like these with bipartisan solutions."

"Food labeling is an essential tool that protects the millions of Americans living with life-threatening food allergies," said Rep. Gonzalez. "While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently makes labeling mandatory for eight major food allergens, the ingredient sesame is excluded. This oversight leaves nearly 1.6 million Americans at risk and I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting the FASTER Act, which will update labeling laws to ensure Americans living with a sesame allergy are protected."

"On behalf of the millions of Americans who live with life-threatening food allergies, I want to express my deep gratitude to Congresswoman Matsui for her tireless work on this issue," said Lisa Gable, Chief Executive Officer, FARE. "She is one of the food allergy community's biggest champions and we are extremely grateful for her leadership."

Supporters of the FASTER Act include:

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)
American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
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