Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Allergy Awareness Week--Give It Up!!

Hi everybody,

I'm thrilled to share this press release from The Food Allergy Initiative.

Food Allergy Initiative Launches “Give It Up” Advocacy Campaign in Conjunction with Food Allergy Awareness Week

New York, NY – May 4, 2010 – The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) today announced the launch of its new “Give It Up” national advocacy campaign in conjunction with Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 9 through May 15, 2010.

The new “Give It Up” campaign encourages children, parents, families and friends to show their support for the millions of Americans with food allergies by abstaining from eating a favorite food during the week. As part of the campaign, participants are invited to join FAI’s Facebook community and write their elected officials in an effort to raise more awareness about the need to find a cure for food allergies.

The “Give It Up” Facebook page also encourages supporters to share photos and/or videos on how they are “giving up” a favorite food. One lucky person will win an Apple iPad. Individuals and schools can even download an eCertificate that can be personalized and printed, showing their participation in the cause. To join FAI’s Facebook page and learn more, visit

Food allergies have been on the rise over the past decade, especially among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 12 million Americans, including three million children, suffer from the disease, which can result in anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction. There currently are no medications to cure or control food allergies. The federal government spends only about $26 million a year on food allergy research – far less than on other important diseases. One of FAI’s primary goals is to increase support of food allergy research at the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies.

“Odds are you have someone in your immediate family or know someone who is afflicted with a food allergy,” said Mary Jane Marchisotto, Executive Director, Food Allergy Initiative. “With the incredible advances that researchers are making, there’s no excuse why we can’t develop a cure for this potentially life-threatening disease in the near future. The Food Allergy Initiative is funding many promising studies at major medical centers, but we can’t do it alone. We need more focus and awareness, especially from the government, and we are here to provide just that.”

About the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI):

The Food Allergy Initiative is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that funds research seeking a cure for food allergies. FAI was founded in 1998 by concerned parents and grandparents to support basic and clinical research worldwide; public policies to make the world safer for those afflicted; and educational programs to make the hospitality industry, schools, day care centers, and camps safer. The largest private source of funding for food allergy research in the United States , FAI has contributed more than $65 million toward the fulfillment of its mission. For more information, visit, call 212-207-1974, or e-mail

About Food Allergies
Food allergies are on the rise in all westernized countries. There are no medications to cure or control food allergies. A strict diet and avoidance of the allergenic food is the only way to avoid a reaction, yet the most common allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy – are staples of the food supply and virtually impossible to avoid completely. Accidental exposure to even a minuscule amount of the offending food can cause an allergic individual to react within seconds, often leading to life-threatening anaphylaxis, which causes throat swelling, a dramatic drop in blood pressure, vomiting and even death within a matter of minutes. Although researchers estimate that food allergies cause approximately 125,000 emergency room visits each year, they do not understand why rates are increasing so alarmingly, particularly among children.


Anonymous said...

although, i do appreciate the support and awareness promotion, i can't help feeling that the "give it up" campaign is a terrible idea. It confirms the unallergic population's assumption that a life threatening food allergy can be easily managed by simply avoiding the food!
as the allergic population knows, this couldn't be further from the truth and is the biggest misconception and misunderstood aspect of living with a food allergy. frustrating.

Jenny said...

Hi Anyonymous,

I understand your concerns, but I see this campaign differently. I believe the goal is to make others see what it's like to have to avoid a specific food all the time. Obviously, this is just one aspect of living with food allergies, but since avoidance is the only way to avoid a reaction, I think it's a pretty good one. I don't know that it implies that food allergies are "easily managed" although I'm sure some people may get that impression.

My greatest hope is that it will lead people to FAI, which will certainly dispel any misconceptions about the simplicity of food allergies.