Mrs. CAPPS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in strong support of H.R. 2063, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2008.
This legislation would provide schools with uniform guidance on how to create appropriate management and emergency plans for children with food allergies.
I was a school nurse, again, for 20 years, and I know so well the challenges confronting educators when working to ensure that their students are adequately cared for. And with the current shortage of school nurses, it is more important than ever that we assist local educational agencies in being prepared to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in school.
The risk of accidental exposure to foods can be reduced in the school setting if schools will work with students, parents, nurses, and physicians to minimize risks and provide a safe educational environment for food-allergic students.
I want to commend my good friend from New York Nita Lowey for her tireless work on this important bill. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting H.R. 2063.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mrs. CAPPS. Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 5 minutes to the author of the bill, our good friend and colleague from New York (Mrs. Lowey).
Mrs. LOWEY. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2063, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act.
And I want to thank my good friend Congresswoman Lois Capps and Congressman Deal for your support on this very important legislation.
More than 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies. Each year several hundred of these individuals die and an estimated 30,000 receive lifesaving treatments in emergency rooms due to food-induced anaphylaxis. Despite the critical nature of these allergies, the only way to prevent dangerous reactions is to avoid all foods that contain allergy-inducing ingredients. And while there have been vast improvements in food labeling, this is still easier said than done, particularly for millions
of children in school-based settings.
Unfortunately, we have a patchwork of policies, regulations and State laws to address this problem. Food allergies and the risk of anaphylaxis are simply too dangerous to not have a more uniform approach to safety.
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act, which I first introduced in 2005, would require the Department of Health and Human Services to provide schools across the country with uniform guidance on how to create management and emergency plans for students with food allergies. These guidelines, which will be developed in consultation with the country's leading scientists and public health officials, will help schools tailor management plans to their students' individual needs, while also
giving them confidence that the measures they are taking have the stamp of approval from the Federal Government. These guidelines are not only critically important in keeping children safe throughout the school day, but in ensuring that there is uniformity in how schools address this growing problem.
With the enactment of this legislation, parents will no longer have to worry about their children's safety if they move to a different school district or State. And most importantly, parents will no longer be charged with creating these policies on their own. This commonsense legislation will give schools, teachers and parents the information they need to keep food-allergic children safer and deserves the support of every one of my colleagues.
I would like to thank Senator Dodd, who is pushing a similar bill in the Senate, Leader Hoyer and his staff, Ivana Alexander, Chairmen Dingell, Miller and Pallone and their staffs, particularly William Garner and Bobby Clark, for their support of this bill, and of course Jean Doyle, my legislative director, for her tireless efforts on this issue. I would also like to thank Anne Munoz-Furlong from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, Todd Slotkin from the
Food Allergy Initiative, Dave Bunning from the Food Allergy Project, and Dr. Hugh Sampson from Mt. Sinai Hospital for their tireless work on behalf of all individuals with food allergies.
This bill will take an important step in protecting children with food allergies.
I urge my colleagues to support it.