What a remarkable year! As a community, we have accomplished so much to make life better for those with food allergies. With so many important milestones taking place in 2013, we decided to take a look back at some of the significant moments in food allergies from this year:
10. New auto-injectors became available
In 2013, two new epinephrine auto-injectors came on the market, providing more options to patients.
9. World Allergy Week and Food Safety Month were dedicated to food allergies
Demonstrating the growing prevalence and awareness that food allergy is a global public health issue, both World Allergy Week in May and Food Safety Month in September were dedicated to educating the public about food allergy.
8. Sports teams showed their support
Northwestern University hosted the first-ever peanut-free college football game in 2013. Additionally, Major League Baseball teams across the country welcomed families managing food allergies for nut-free or nut-controlled games. The Seattle Mariners, along with other teams, even invited kids with food allergies to throw out the first pitch.
7. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) published the first national school food allergy guidelines
These guidelines are intended to support the implementation of school food allergy management policies in schools and early childhood programs, and guide improvements to existing practices. Implementing these guidelines may help schools reduce allergic reactions, improve response to life-threatening reactions and ensure current policies are in line with laws that protect children with serious health issues.
6. Celebrities raised awareness
Celebrities like Julie Bowen, Adrian Peterson, Jerome Bettis, Jo Frost and Kenton Duty stood up to help bring awareness to the serious nature of food allergies. They spoke up on talk shows and public service announcements, and told their stories about their connection to the cause. Additionally, prominent bloggers gathered for the first annual Food Allergy Blogger’s Conference (FABlogCon) for a weekend of learning, support and inspiration.
5. FARE launched a public awareness campaign about food allergy bullying
During Food Allergy Awareness Week in May, FARE released a public service announcement about the growing concern of food allergy bullying. The video has more than 36,000 views on YouTube and helped bring attention to the issue. In December, a bill was filed which would require schools to put in place a policy that addresses food allergy bullying.
4. The media shined the spotlight on food allergies
The New York Times made a splash with their “Allergy Busters” article about the latest treatment for food allergies; they also ran an opinion column by author Curtis Sittenfeld urging increased availability of epinephrine in schools. And Anderson Cooper hosted teens Danielle and Lauren Mongeau, who advocated for the successful passage of a bill in Rhode Island that created a food allergy awareness training program for restaurants. Also related to restaurant awareness – FARE and the National Restaurant Association partnered to create the first comprehensive, interactive national training program for restaurant personnel to help them become more food allergy aware.
3. The FARE Walk for Food Allergy had a record-breaking season
The 2013 FARE Walk for Food Allergy season was the largest in its history, raising $3.6 million for food allergy research, advocacy, awareness, and education – a $1.2 million dollar increase from 2012.
2. The Discovery Channel aired a special documentary about food allergy
Narrated by Steve Carell, this documentary explored what it is like to live with life-threatening food allergies, how families and individuals managing food allergies are working to raise awareness in their communities, and the vital research underway to find effective treatments and a cure.
1. The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act was signed into law
On November 13, President Obama signed this historic and potentially lifesaving legislation – the first federal law encouraging schools to stock epinephrine for use in allergic emergencies. At the signing ceremony, the president revealed that his own daughter, Malia, is allergic to peanuts.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, donated, and helped raise awareness about food allergies in 2013. We look forward to building on the momentum of this banner year to bring us even further toward fulfilling our mission in 2014: safety and inclusion for those with food allergies, while relentlessly seeking a cure.