Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10), along with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA-06), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), and Congressman Ben Cline (R-VA-06) launched the first-ever, bipartisan Congressional Food Allergy Research Caucus to educate Members of Congress and the public about the need to expand food allergy research and support the development of therapies and cures. Congresswoman Matsui and Representative McHenry will serve as Chairs of the Caucus, Representatives Khanna and Cline will serve as Vice Chairs.
The Congressional Food Allergy Research Caucus will provide a forum for Members to discuss ways to protect the more than 10 percent of their constituents suffering from food allergies, new ways to treat and prevent the rise of food allergies, as well as provide tools to educate and promote policies to help benefit the food allergy community.
“Food allergies impact 85 million Americans, yet we do not know enough about this potentially life-threatening disease,” said Congressman McHenry. “It is important for Congress to understand this issue and help educate others on the need to expand food allergy research while also supporting the development of therapies and cures. I am proud to be a founding member of the Congressional Food Allergy Research Caucus that is dedicated to confronting this important issue and helping the millions of Americans suffering from food allergies.”
“Every day, food allergy individuals and families make important decisions to protect the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “When you have a food allergy, navigating life’s daily activities requires a great deal of preparation and vigilance. Along with the passing of the FASTER Act last month, the creation of the Congressional Food Allergy Research Caucus will shine a crucial spotlight on the need for research that will help us better understand, treat, and prevent food allergies. We must treat food allergies as a public health issue — and this Caucus is a significant step towards helping improve the lives of those who are suffering from serious and potentially life-threatening food allergies.”
Background: The food allergy community includes 85 million Americans, or roughly one in four people, who avoid consuming or purchasing products containing one of the top nine allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fin fish, shellfish, and sesame) either because they are allergic or intolerant to one of these allergens or someone in their household is allergic or intolerant.
The number of food allergic children and adults has more than doubled over the past twenty years, far outpacing population growth, and every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. The Caucus will work to increase awareness in Congress about the rise and prevalence of food allergies, and advocate for a greater federal commitment to funding food allergy research.