Important health legislation designed to raise awareness of the dangers that food allergies pose to millions of people passed its final test with unanimous support in the State Assembly today. SCR 67, authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), designates May 13-19, 2012 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in California.
“I’m grateful for the support I received in both the Senate and Assembly to draw attention to what is becoming a serious epidemic in our society,” said Senator Huff. “Given that there is no known cure for food allergies and reactions can be fatal if untreated, it is important to raise awareness in the public as to the seriousness of the condition. I appreciate the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) for bringing this issue to my attention and for their nationwide efforts to raise awareness and recognize this week in May.”
According to FAAN, which is sponsoring SCR 67, as many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. It is estimated that nearly six million of these people are children under the age of 18.
Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction. The symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc. also known as anaphylaxis).
Unlike other allergies, food allergies are of particular concern as anaphylactic reactions can be potentially fatal. There is no cure or known cause for food allergy and the only treatment at this time is avoidance. According to the resolution, the eight foods that cause 90% of all food allergy reactions in the United States are shellfish, fish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy and wheat.
The Huff resolution furthermore states: “According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergy reactions result in more than 300,000 ambulatory care visits each year involving a child under 18 years of age.”
“Due to the severity and rising number of this phenomenon that affects so many of our children, I believe it’s crucial that we do our best to increase awareness about this issue,” concluded Senator Huff. “Organizations like FAAN are committed to raising public awareness, providing advocacy and education, and advancing research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.”
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.