WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) applauded the Senate passage of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act. The senators led seven of their senator colleagues, including Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), introducing this bill to addresses the growing challenges posed by food allergies, which affect tens of millions of Americans. The bill modernizes our nation’s labeling laws by codifying sesame as a major food allergen and calls for a comprehensive report on food allergies in the United States that will assist future governmental and private-sector efforts to monitor, study, and combat these allergies. Approximately 1.5 million Americans are allergic to sesame.

"For years, parents in Connecticut have told me about the challenges associated with sesame allergies—about how dangerous it is for them or their children to go to a grocery store or eat in the school cafeteria and not know if their food might hurt them. They helped me see it was inexcusable that federal law didn’t require sesame labeling on food products, like it does for other allergens. That is why I was proud to work across the aisle with Republican Senator Tim Scott to draft legislation to finally require sesame labeling, and I’m excited to have it pass the Senate today. I look forward to this legislation passing in the House and heading to the president’s desk," said Murphy.

“This is a big win for kids with life-threatening sesame allergies – and an immense relief for their parents. Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of Connecticut residents about the terrifying near-death experiences they or their children had with sesame because it was hiding in the food they ate. I’ve fought for years in their name to ensure that this major allergen is marked clearly on food, just as peanuts and dairy are. I urge my House colleagues and the president to act swiftly in making this bill law, before this deadly allergy takes another person’s life.” said Blumenthal.

"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 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’m glad that this bipartisan legislation passed the Senate and hope that we can continue to make progress for Americans affected by this issue."

The FASTER Act would:

·       Codify sesame as a major food allergen under the FD&C Act, effective for products introduced into interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2023; and

·       Direct HHS, within two years of enactment, to submit a report to Congress on opportunities and challenges related to food allergy prevention, risk reduction, cures, data collection, and diagnostic and therapeutic development. The report would also discuss a potential framework for modifying the federal list of major food allergens in the future.

In addition to Murphy, Blumenthal, and Scott the bill was also cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
A one-pager on the legislation can be found here.
The full version of the bill text can be accessed here.