Good News: Legislation Promotes Food Allergy Safety on Airlines

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Air travelers with food allergies will breathe more easily if the Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (S. 1972) becomes law.

The recently introduced congressional bill asks for an examination of current airline policies regarding passengers with food allergies, and requires all airlines to carry auto-injectors for allergy emergencies.

You can scratch your allergy-advocacy itch by emailing your representatives to support S. 1972. Simply go the FARE advocacy website to sign and send a message (link below).

What’s In S. 1972

The Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act has three parts:

  1. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate and report to Congress on current air carrier food allergy policies (e.g., accommodation practices, staff training, the incidence of in-flight reactions and emergency landings).
  2. The Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines are directed to clarify that the epinephrine ampules already in emergency kits are for treating anaphylaxis.
  3. All airlines will carry epinephrine auto-injectors. Crew members will be trained to recognize allergic reaction symptoms and to use the auto-injectors.

“Our hope is that the findings of the GAO report will lead to the development of clear, consistently applied accommodation policies to help passengers with food allergies make informed choices about their air travel plans,” said Scott Riccio, senior vice president of education and advocacy at FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

“The bill also recognizes the value of carrying easy-to-use epinephrine auto-injectors on aircraft in a manner similar to automatic defibrillators, and includes important provisions that would provide better instructions for use of epinephrine in allergic emergencies.”

S. 1972 Supporters

The Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act is proof that bipartisan legislation still occurs.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH); co-sponsors are Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mark Warner (D-VA). The bill is backed by FARE and several other advocacy organizations, and has been endorsed by the Association of Flight Attendants, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Again, to let your Senators know that you support S. 1972, click the FARE advocacy link below.

Sources: Food Allergy; FARE Advocacy Photo credit: Colleen Lane

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