Food Labeling Modernization Act- H.R.5425 and S. 2647


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Dear [Decision Maker],

This April, Rep. Frank Pallone and Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act (H.R.5425 / S.2647). The proposed law would add sesame to the list of food allergens that must be disclosed on food labels under the requirements of the Food Allergy Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). FALCPA has made the work of grocery shopping, school food service, and other aspects of food purchase easier and safer. Consumers seeking to avoid any of the "top eight" food allergens (crustaceans, fin fish, egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, soy, and wheat) may determine with relative ease whether those foods are intended ingredients of a grocery item.

Adding sesame to the FALCPA requirements has the potential to be a transformative moment for Americans living with sesame allergy. Avoiding sesame can be difficult, as its presence in the food may not be evident from the label as it is often hiding in the phrase "natural flavorings." The food allergy community would welcome this change, which would enable consumers to avoid food allergens in those foods. Such accidental ingestion is a frequent cause of severe reactions, and may be deadly.
Relatedly, while FALCPA is intended to apply to grocery items, it is not uncommon for allergen information to be excluded from the labeling of non-prepackaged foods sold in retail settings such as grocery stores. H.R. 5425 proposes to require that allergen information be disclosed on such labels.

A typical example is a cookie that is sold in the bakery section of a supermarket. A box of cookies will often include a label that appears to be printed in-store and including FALCPA-compliant ingredient lists. But the same cookie, sold a few feet away at an instore display or "bakery counter" is sometimes sold and packaged on site without such labeling. This lack of consistency and clarity complicates the allergic consumer's efforts to obtain accurate and complete ingredient information, and can lead to dangerous, even life threatening, allergic reactions. We are asking for your support for stronger protections for consumers with food allergies, as the prevalence of food allergy is rapidly increasing in both children and adults. According to a 2017 analysis of 24 billion claim lines from 150 million privately insured individuals conducted by FAIR Health, insurance claims for emergency room visits due to anaphylaxis from food allergies increased by 377 percent between 2007 and 2016; visits due to anaphylaxis caused by tree nuts and seeds, including sesame, increased even more rapidly by 603 percent over the same period.

Because of this, we ask that you sign on as a cosponsor of H.R. 5425 /S. 2647 today. Thank you.

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