With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

10 February 2010

Food Allergy Advocacy in Massachusetts

Who would ever think you could dedicate a blog just to food allergies and actually have enough material to write almost every day? Food Allergy Buzz has been around for about two years and there are over 500 posts. There is still so much to share and learn and do together to make life with food allergies better.

Massachusetts has received some attention because of our guidelines for food allergy management in school and the new restaurant food allergy law. In addition, a new law was passed requiring new bus drivers to receive epi-pen training. These are good things to be sure, and came only after mammoth efforts by many people, but there is plenty of room for improvement still. One thing that hits close to home is the management of food allergies in school. The food allergy management guidelines are not mandatory, they are voluntary. Every school handles food allergies differently and not surprising, it is difficult to persuade schools to change and follow guidelines which are not mandatory. It's a huge problem--classroom celebrations involve food and food often is included as part of the curriculum--and clearly would take a well-organized effort to solve.

Meanwhile, scientists and doctors are hard at work on a number of different treatments for food allergies which hopefully will someday make these concerns a distant memory. We need more funding and focus on this research to reach that day sooner. Wouldn't it be great not to have to worry about a fatal reaction from eating a particular food? I love reading the blogs about children participating in clinical trials and imagining my son being able to safely ingest his nemesis, peanuts. Have you read Ask Me about My Peanut Allergy or Peanut Allergy Free...Here We Come? How about Children's Hospital Boston's milk allergy desensitization treatment? It's the stuff of my dreams. 

We have lots of work to do as food allergy advocates! If you live in Massachusetts and are interested in becoming more involved in food allergy advocacy here in the Commonwealth and perhaps connecting with our local elected officials, please send an email to jenniferATfoodallergybuzz.com. (you have to substitute @ where I have "AT" in the address!) I will write back to you with more information--a few of us are working together on some advocacy projects here. Hope to hear from you!


LittleMeTG said...

You go Jennifer! We are working with your county school officials here in VA first. Once we get this going, we'll see what the next step is. As you know we are trying to change a culture and not just policies! I'm so happy to see you are facing this head on! Keep up the good work. Maybe we can trade strategies. Strength in numbers!


LittleMeTG said...

Oops I mean "...we are working with OUR county school..." not "your"!


ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

I just started writing a post on Advocacy for WEGO Health and I come here and find this wonderful post. I'll be linking you no doubt. I wish I lived in MA. Not much is going on here in Ohio (that I have been able to find) and I personally don't know where to start.

Thanks for all the work you do. One step in MA means easier steps for the rest of us :)

Mom with a Mission said...

Jennifer - thanks for mentioning my blog in your post! Maybe in a couple of years, doctors can take information from all these clinical trials and go mainstream. It'd truly be a dream come true for hundreds of thousands of parents. Good luck with your advocacy group.