Five years after the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act was first introduced in the U.S. Congress, the bill (more commonly called FAAMA) has finally passed. Part of an overall food safety bill, it is expected that President Obama will sign it into law.
The bill was introduced in 2005 as part of the Food Allergy Awareness Network’s inaugural Kids’ Congress. It was approved on December 19 by the Senate and then by The House on December 21.
The bill creates a much needed set of regulations to help deal with food allergies in schools. The guidelines are not mandatory for schools; however, they will give schools without food allergy management policies a place to begin to create one. The new policies will give educate school officials about the severity of food allergies and implement plans for severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, should they occur while on school property. The guidelines are also helpful for those parents who are aware of their child’s food allergies and gives them a set of guidelines for reinforcement in the school setting.
The national guidelines will not override existing or pending state laws or guidelines concerning schools and food allergies. The FAAMA guidelines are to be used as a complement to existing guidelines already in place.
This bill was supported by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), whose daughter has a food allergy, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who has a grandchild with a food allergy. In addition, many families who belong to FAAN were instrumental in advocating for the passage of FAAMA.