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Frist Food Allergen Bill Passes Committee

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Press Release Of Senator Bill Frist, M.D.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – To protect the nearly seven million Americans who suffer from food allergies, U.S. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) today announced that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved legislation that would require labels on food packaging if the ingredients include one of eight major allergens. Senator Frist cosponsored the “Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act,” along with Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and others.

“Millions of Americans suffering from food allergies could avoid potentially adverse reactions through the simple labeling of foods,” said Frist. “This is a commonsense approach to deal with what could be a devastating incident for many individuals. Already many food companies have taken the initiative to inform consumers, and today’s bill will ensure that the entire industry takes this simple step to protect Americans.”

The “Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act” would build on food industry efforts and require that the ingredient label on any food containing a major food allergen would list that allergen in “plain language” either within, or immediately following, the ingredient list. All food labeled as of January 1, 2006 would be required to comply. Today, a majority of food processors comply with similar voluntary guidelines.

The bill would require food labeling if the ingredients include one of the following eight major food allergens: milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans.

The bill would also direct the secretary of Health and Human Services, through the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review, improve surveillance of, and research on food allergies and the factors that contribute to allergic reactions to food.

Senator Frist is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Public Health.

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