Matsui and Colleagues Applaud Passage of the FASTER Act for Sesame Labeling

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14, 2021 | George Hatamiya (916-201-5412)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), and Elaine Luria (D-VA), and Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) applauded the passage of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act (H.R. 1202/S. 578), legislation that will improve the safety of those in the food allergy community and expand the research necessary to find new treatments. The Senate passed the FASTER Act last month, and the bill will now head to President Biden’s desk to be signed.

The FASTER Act will require that sesame be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods. Sesame would become the ninth food allergen for which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires plain-language labeling. The bill will 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. Additionally, the FASTER Act requires this report to include recommendations for how to develop and implement a timely, transparent, evidence-based process and framework for adding emerging allergens to the list of major food allergens.

“Today is an important step forward for the more than 32 million Americans – including 5.6 million children – living with potentially life-threatening food allergies who rely on accurate food ingredient labels,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Critically, this legislation extends these labeling protections to the nearly 1.6 million Americans allergic to sesame, while also laying the groundwork to help understand, treat, and one day prevent food allergies. The FASTER Act will truly make a difference for those living with potentially life-threatening food allergies and we are proud that it will now be sent to President Biden’s desk.”

“Today, I was proud to see the FASTER Act pass the House. This bill provides a much-needed update to allergen labeling laws to include sesame, which affects the over 1.5 million people allergic to sesame,” said Rep. McHenry. “Additionally, the bill will enable us to better treat the millions of Americans that suffer from life-threatening food allergies by requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to regularly review promising food allergy treatments and research.”

“Adding sesame to food allergen labels is a commonsense, bipartisan solution that will make purchasing food safer for millions of Americans with food allergies,” said Rep. Luria. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to give consumers piece of mind and deliver meaningful results for the American people.”

“With approximately 32 million Americans living with food allergies, it’s important for us to take targeted steps to address the growing challenges posed by food allergies and to protect those who are vulnerable,” said Senator Scott. “Nationwide, caring for children with food allergies costs an average of $25 billion annually, and can pose extreme hardships on low- and middle-income families. I applaud the House and Senate for working in a bipartisan fashion and look forward to the president signing this into law.”

“Today’s passage of the FASTER Act will bring long-awaited relief to the many people in Connecticut with sesame allergies,” said Senator Murphy. “Finally, federal law will require sesame labeling on food products, just as it does for peanuts and dairy, and those with allergies will no longer have to fear what might be hiding in their food. I’m proud to have worked on this bill with Senator Scott, and look forward to President Biden signing it into law.”

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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