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    Scott Adams

    Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act - Time to Get Involved!

    Scott Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 06/02/2002 Prepared by Laura Yick - There are currently two bills in congress regarding food labeling that affect people with celiac disease. Both HR 1356 and HR 4704 were introduced by Representative Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) in the House of Representatives. S 2499 is the same as HR 4704 and was introduced by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) in the Senate. It appears that HR 1356 is somewhat conflicting with HR 4704 and is a weaker version with less detail. HR 4704/S 2499 bill looks to be more beneficial for us (we all know the frustrations of having to verify the gluten status of foods, even if they are labeled gluten-free!), as it contains a section that deals with cross-contamination (see p.9 lines 13-25, p.10, and p.11 lines 1-2). HR 4704/S 2499 is under the control of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, however, the enforcement of cross-contamination labeling is not clear. You can compare them for yourself by going to the US Congress websites listed below. Here is a summary of each bill and a listing of the committee and subcommittee members who have control over the fate of the bills:



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    House Bill H.R.1356

    Sponsor: Rep Lowey, Nita M.(introduced 4/3/2001)
    Title: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require that foods containing spices, flavoring, or coloring derived from meat, poultry, other animal products (including insects), or known allergens bear labeling stating that fact and their names.

    SUMMARY AS OF: 4/3/2001--Introduced.
    Food Ingredient Right to Know Act
    Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide that a food shall be deemed to be misbranded if it contains any spice, flavoring, or coloring derived from meat, poultry, any other animal product (including insects), or a known food allergen unless its labeling bears a statement with appropriate prominence on the information panel providing that fact and the name of the meat, poultry, other animal product, or known food allergen.

    STATUS:
    4/3/2001: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (see below for list of committee members).
    4/25/2001: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health (see below for list of subcommittee members).
    07/29/2002: The food Allergen Bill S.2499 has been rescheduled for discussion after the August recess.

    House Bill H.R.4704

    Sponsor: Rep Lowey, Nita M.(introduced 5/9/2002)
    Title: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish labeling requirements regarding allergenic substances in food, and for other purposes.

    STATUS: (color indicates Senate actions)
    5/9/2002: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
    5/17/2002: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

    Senate Bill S.2499

    Sponsor: Sen. Kennedy, Edward M.(introduced 5/9/2002)
    Title: A Bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish labeling requirements regarding allergenic substances in food, and for other purposes.
    STATUS:
    5/9/2002: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

    The current laws of the United States can be found at:
    http://law2.house.gov/download.htm

    Note that HR 4704 and S 2499 have exactly the same wording except for the sponsors. Bills in committees or subcommittees have three fates: (1) Tabled (i.e., they are essentially postponed, possibly forever), (2) Releasing it for a full House or Senate vote with a recommendation to pass it, (3) Revised and then released as in (2). Bills in committees also may be referred to subcommittees within the committee. It is possible that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions may refer S 2499 to the Subcommittee on Public Health. The bill needs to pass with a simple majority (218 of 435 in the House, 26 of 50 in the Senate). The bill then goes to the other congressional body where the process begins again. Once both the House and Senate pass the bill, any differences between the House version and Senate version must be worked out by a conference committee of both House and Senate members. Then the bill must finally be approved by both the House and Senate. Because HR 4704 and S 2499 are concurrent, the entire process may be faster than if only one body of Congress were working on it. Finally, the President needs to approve it; otherwise, the bill goes back to the House and Senate and must pass by a 2/3 majority in both.

    If your representative or senator is listed below on a committee and/or subcommittee that is reviewing a bill, it is important that you request them to speed the committee recommendation of the bill to the full House or Senate vote and to ensure that it is not weakened. If your representative or senator is not on one of the committees or subcommittees, you could still urge them to support the speedy passage of the bills. Speedy passage is essential because there is a clause that gives a four year grace period.

    Politically, it may be especially effective for you to write your congress people regarding these bills if they are up for re-election, or if they are seeking higher office in an upcoming election, but any e-mail to your representatives will be helpful. To see who your representative is:
    http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html
    To write your representative:
    http://www.house.gov/writerep/
    To see who your senators are:
    http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm
    To write your senators:
    http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm


    Tips from the GIG on writing your letters or e-mails:

    • Address the Congressman as Honorable.
    • Keep the letter to one page.
    • Stay on the message - The passage of Representative Lowey and Senator Kennedy Bill, the Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act is important to the health and safety of thousands of persons suffering from allergies and intolerances.
    • Use the language used in the Bill ...gluten and allergens, not celiac disease.
    • Tell them what you want -- for them to support passage of this Bill.
    • Sharing a bad experience and how passage of this bill would have made a difference can be helpful...but keep it brief.
    • Remind them you follow their votes and that you appreciate their support.
    • Sign your name, provide your full address, and phone number.

    The names of Subcommittee and Committee Members who control the fate of these bills. We can make a difference with our letters and e-mail to them:

    The current House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
    W. J. Billy Tauzin, Chairman
    Michael Bilirakis, Florida
    Joe Barton, Texas
    Fred Upton, Michigan
    Cliff Stearns, Florida
    Paul E. Gillmor, Ohio
    James C. Greenwood, Pennsylvania
    Christopher Cox, California
    Nathan Deal, Georgia
    Richard Burr, North Carolina, Vice Chairman
    Ed Whitfield, Kentucky
    Greg Ganske, Iowa
    Charlie Norwood, Georgia
    Barbara Cubin, Wyoming
    John Shimkus, Illinois
    Heather Wilson, New Mexico
    John B. Shadegg, Arizona
    Charles Chip Pickering, Mississippi
    Vito Fossella, New York
    Roy Blunt, Missouri
    Thomas Davis, Virginia
    Ed Bryant, Tennessee
    Robert Ehrlich, Maryland
    Steve Buyer, Indiana
    George Radanovich, California
    Charles F. Bass, New Hampshire
    Joseph Pitts, Pennsylvania
    Mary Bono, California
    Greg Walden, Oregon
    Lee Terry, Nebraska
    Ernie Fletcher, Kentucky
    John D. Dingell, Michigan, Ranking Member
    Henry A. Waxman, California
    Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts
    Ralph M. Hall, Texas
    Rick Boucher, Virginia
    Edolphus Towns, New York
    Frank Pallone Jr., New Jersey
    Sherrod Brown, Ohio
    Bart Gordon, Tennessee
    Peter Deutsch, Florida
    Bobby L. Rush, Illinois
    Anna G. Eshoo, California
    Bart Stupak, Michigan
    Eliot L. Engel, New York
    Tom Sawyer, Ohio
    Albert R. Wynn, Maryland
    Gene Green, Texas
    Karen McCarthy, Missouri
    Ted Strickland, Ohio
    Diana DeGette, Colorado
    Tom Barrett, Wisconsin
    Bill Luther, Minnesota
    Lois Capps, California
    Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania
    Chris John, Louisiana
    Jane Harman, California

    House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health:
    Michael Bilirakis, Florida, Chairman
    Joe Barton, Texas
    Fred Upton, Michigan
    James C. Greenwood, Pennsylvania
    Nathan Deal, Georgia
    Richard Burr, North Carolina
    Ed Whitfield, Kentucky
    Greg Ganske, Iowa
    Charlie Norwood, Georgia, Vice Chairman
    Barbara Cubin, Wyoming
    Heather Wilson, New Mexico
    John B. Shadegg, Arizona
    Charles W. Chip Pickering, Mississippi
    Ed Bryant, Tennessee
    Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland
    Steve Buyer, Indiana
    Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania
    W.J. Billy Tauzin, Louisiana
    Sherrod Brown, Ohio, Ranking Member
    Henry A. Waxman, California
    Ted Strickland, Ohio
    Tom Barrett, Wisconsin
    Lois Capps, California
    Ralph M. Hall, Texas
    Edolphus Towns, New York
    Frank Pallone, Jr., New Jersey
    Peter Deutsch, Florida
    Anna G. Eshoo, California
    Bart Stupak, Michigan
    Eliot L. Engel, New York
    Albert R. Wynn, Maryland
    Gene Green, Texas
    John D. Dingell, Michigan

    Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions:
    Edward M. Kennedy, MA, Chairman
    Christopher Dodd, CT
    Tom Harkin, IA
    Barbara Mikulski, MD
    James Jeffords, VT
    Jeff Bingaman, NM
    Paul Wellstone, MN
    Patty Murray, WA
    Jack Reed, RI
    John Edwards, NC
    Hillary Clinton, NY
    Judd Gregg, NH, Ranking Member
    Bill Frist, TN
    Mike Enzi, WY
    Tim Hutchinson, AR
    John Warner, VA
    Christopher Bond, MO
    Pat Roberts, KS
    Susan Collins, ME
    Jeff Sessions, AL
    Mike DeWine, OH

    Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Public Health:
    Edward M. Kennedy, MA, Chairman
    Tom Harkin, IA
    Barbara Mikulski, MD
    James Jeffords, VT
    Jeff Bingaman, NM
    Paul Wellstone, MN
    Jack Reed, RI
    John Edwards, NC
    Hillary Clinton, NY
    Judd Gregg, NH,
    Bill Frist, TN
    Michael Enzi, WY
    Tim Hutchinson, AR
    Christopher Bond, MO
    Pat Roberts, KS
    Susan Collins, ME
    Jeff Sessions, AL


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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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