Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Food Allergy News: FAAMA Passed Into Law!!!

I received the following e-mail from Julia Bradsher, CEO of FAAN. This news couldn't have come at a better time, especially considering my previous post about a tragic food allergy death at a Chicago school. Read on and let's celebrate. FAAMA will save lives.

Dear Jenny,

We did it!!

Five years after the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act (FAAMA) was introduced in the U.S. Congress, FAAMA has finally passed as part of the food safety bill and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.

FAAMA will lead to the much-needed creation of national food allergy management guidelines for schools. While these guidelines are voluntary, they will provide schools without existing food allergy management policies with a valuable resource.

These policies are critical to help educate school officials about food allergy, a potentially life-threatening medical condition, and help them implement emergency plans in case a severe reaction occurs on school grounds. Studies have shown that up to 25% percent of reactions in school occur in children with previously undiagnosed food allergy.

Earlier this month, a fatal reaction occurred at a school in Chicago, allegedly due to food that was consumed at school.

The guidelines will also benefit parents of children with food allergies, who are looking for a vetted resource to help them safely manage their child’s food allergies in the school setting.

Written largely by FAAN, the national guidelines will not supersede existing or pending state laws or guidelines concerning schools and food allergies. The FAAMA guidelines should be seen as a complement to existing guidelines created as a result of other legislation.

This tremendous accomplishment was made possible by the thousands of individuals who advocated for this legislation and many elected representatives who co-sponsored FAAMA over the years, most notably Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), whose daughter has a food allergy, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who has a grandchild with a food allergy.

We celebrate the passage of FAAMA today, but our work is not done. FAAN will continue to work diligently to raise awareness, educate others, and advocate on behalf of the millions of Americans with food allergy and anaphylaxis.

Thank you all for your support!

Julia Bradsher


Renata said...

I'm reading this with tears in my eyes. My boy is 3 and allergic to so many foods! I thought I might have to home-school him in order to keep him alive. Never has another blog post made me so happy! Thanks, Jenny, for all your efforts to inform and educate.

jenny said...

Jenny, please excuse my ignorance, I know this is great news, but what does it do really? If the school already have action plan on file for the allergic child, does this "law" add more to it? Or if the school is ignoring the need of an action plan, do they now HAVE to do it, what if they don't? You see, I am more interested in knowing what the "actions" are. This is not a law that ban nuts in school, so the danger still is there. What is the first step we parents should do?

Jenny said...

Hi Jenny,

I understand your concerns. Here is what this law does. It creates guidelines for every school in the country that are consistent across the board. Before it was one student at a time, one parent at a time, one school at a time.

Now ALL schools will have food allergy emergency guidelines and protocols to use. No more excuses about not knowing what to do or saying that "not many students have food allergies, we don't know how to handle it."

Food allergy action plans are vital but with this added law, the issue of food allergies receives more attention and a bigger platform than ever before.

This law is only one step towards safer schools but creating a national law elevates this issue into something more than the previous situation which was parents like me and you having to be pioneers every year.