US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Applauds CDC Guidance on Managing Food Allergies in Schools

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food Allergy Guidelines are Required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, Which Harkin Helped Author

Just Today, Senate HELP Committee Approved Legislation to Improve Access to Emergency Epinephrine in Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today applauded new voluntary guidelines for schools and early care centers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the management of food allergies in schools. The voluntary guidelines are required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which Harkin authored and led passage of as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Earlier today, the HELP Committee unanimously approved the bipartisan School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which addresses the rise in diagnoses of food allergies in children by encouraging schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine injectors and to allow trained school personnel to administer an epinephrine injection if a student is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July, and if approved by the full Senate, will go to the President to be signed into law.

“Food allergies are a serious matter for millions of children and their families nationwide. Lunchtime for one student could mean a medical emergency for another student with severe food allergies,” Harkin said. “These new voluntary guidelines from the CDC will help schools and early care centers better prepare for allergy emergencies and provide a safer, healthier environment for all students.”

According to the CDC, the guidelines include recommendations for practices in five priority areas:

·         Ensure the daily management of food allergies in individual children.

·         Prepare for food allergy emergencies.

·         Provide professional development on food allergies for staff members.

·         Educate children and family members about food allergies.

·         Create and maintain a healthy and safe educational environment.

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