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   Food Allergy Legislation

Food Allergy Legislation across the USA and Canada

National Food Allergy Legislation - FAAMA

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act was signed into law January 4, 2011 by President Obama. The law directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to develop voluntary food allergy guidelines to prevent exposure to food allergens and assure a prompt response when a child suffers a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction. The guidelines must be developed and made available within one year of enactment of the law. The legislation also provides for incentive grants to local educational agencies to assist with adoption and implementation of food allergy guidelines in public schools.

National Food Allergy Legislation – FALCPA

Rep. Lowey introduced the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) that was passed 7/20/2004.

This Act requires labels to be marked such that a 7 year old could read and understand the ingredients, all allergens are declared even if they are in the spices or flavorings, and curtail the current widespread use of the ‘may contain statements.’ This act goes into effect January 1, 2006.

More information on this Act can be found at:

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The Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act

Canadian Food Allergy Legislation – Sabrina’s Law

In Ontario, Canada, Bill 3, Sabrina’s Law, was passed in May 2005. The bill, which will ensure that teachers and students know what to do when someone goes into anaphylactic shock, became law Jan. 1, 2006. This bill was named after Sabrina Shannon, a 13 year old girl, who died at school after eating french fries that were contaminated with a dairy product.

More information on this bill and this tragic story can be found at:

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Ontario passes law for severely allergic kids

State Legislation for Food Allergic Students

AAFA (Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America) rates states by their asthma & allergy policies in schools. You can see the report here. Check out the detailed information in the back of the report about the states that are on the honor roll. This will give you a good idea as to what legislation needs to be passed in your state.

A few states have passed legislation regarding food allergies and caring for food allergic children in school. These states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.

Legislation regarding Epinephrine at School with no prescription

In Kansas, HB.2008 was approved by the Governor in April 2009. The new law allows any accredited school in that state to obtain an epinephrine kit from a licensed pharmacist, and to maintain the kit at school. The epinephrine could then be used in emergency anaphylactic situation that occurs at school, on school property, or at school-sponsored events.

State Guidelines for Food Allergic Students

The state of Massachusetts doesn't have a law; instead their Department of Education created a document about managing life threatening allergies in schools. It is an excellent, albeit long, summary.

Other states have also created guidelines:

Arizona’s Resource Guide for Supporting Children with Life Threatening Food Allergies:

California State PTA:

Connecticut’s guidelines created by law:

Illinois guidelines

Maryland’s guidelines:

Mississippi guidelines:

New Jersey’s guidelines created by law:

New York guidelines created by law:

Tennessee’s guidelines:

Vermont’s guidelines created by law:

Washington’s guidelines:

West Virginia guidelines:

Wisconsin guidelines:

School District Guidelines for Food Allergic Students

Additionally, some school districts have created policies and procedures for dealing with severe food allergies. In 2001, a peanut allergic little boy died on a field trip in Spokane, Washington from anaphylaxis. From my understanding, his parents sued the school district and won. They used the monies to create education and awareness in the school district. The result was a task force appointed by the superintendent that created a document about dealing with food allergic children. Once again, it is excellent. Click here for the report.

I participated on a task force for our public school district on food allergies. This was very exciting for me. I've been hoping for such to occur since I signed my son up for preschool 8 years ago. At that time, no private preschool in our city would accept him, and I knew that public schools were our only option. Yet, trying to learn the procedures in the classroom prior to an event was difficult. The school didn't realize how frequently food was used in lesson plans, as rewards, and at parties. It's taken a lot of years for us to speak the same language. 

Our task force created a working document of policies and procedures to help the school deal with food allergic children effectively and safely, to help parents know what to expect and to help students to self-advocate.

You can view the policy we created here and the guidelines here.