A bipartisan bill was introduced in the United States Senate to direct the Government Accountability Office to create a national report examining airline policies for food allergic passengers. The bill is being championed by Food Allergy Research & Education.
The Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (Senate Bill 1972) was introduced by Senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. It specifically directs the GAO to conduct a report that examines the policies of airlines regarding accommodating passengers with food allergies and would require those airlines to carry epinephrine auto-injectors for use in emergencies.
GAO Report To Cover Range of Topics
A range of topics is slated for the GAO report, should the legislation pass. These include the content and variability of existing accommodations policies for food-allergic passengers and how well those policies are applied. Staff training and consumer outreach for passengers would also be studied. Statistics regarding in-flight allergy-related incidents, emergency landings, and the costs of those incidents would be included.
This report could be used by the industry to better understand how food allergies affect their operations and what can be done to better accommodate passengers as well as reduce costs and incidents associated with them.
Clarification and Epinephrine
Medical kits aboard airlines currently contain epinephrine ampules for use. The legislation clarifies their usage to include the treatment of anaphylaxis. Because not all emergency kits aboard all airlines and aircraft are required to carry it, however, the legislation also mandates the inclusion of epinephrine auto-injectors in those kits.
The Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act also directs that crewmembers aboard aircraft be trained to recognize anaphylaxis and administer epinephrine.