Food Allergy Accommodations
Access to safe, healthy food is a basic human right. Yet people managing food allergies have to go to great lengths to make sure the food they eat don’t contain their allergens.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and its food allergy division, Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), support state and federal policies that promote healthy settings for people managing food allergies in various settings, including:
- Day care centers
- While traveling on airlines
- Restaurants and other food service locations
Food Allergy Accommodations in Schools and Child Care Centers
Most children, including those with food allergies, spend much of their day in schools. A child can encounter food throughout the day during meals, snacks, parties, rewards, and even in arts and crafts supplies.
The only way to prevent food allergy reactions is by avoiding your food allergen. Access to epinephrine – the first-line treatment of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis – at all times is critical for school children and preschoolers with food allergies.
As seen in our State Honor Roll report, we strongly support a range of state policies to protect children with food allergies in schools and day care centers:
- Stock epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs)
- Liability protections for school staff who use EAIs in good faith
- Requirements that schools collect updated health records and keep incident reports for allergic reactions
- Awareness, including states recognizing the problems of food allergy in schools and day care centers
AAFA and KFA also support laws that would extend these same policies to child care settings. One of these bills is known as “Elijah’s Law.”
Elijah’s Law is a bill that ensures child care facilities take concrete steps to manage food allergies for the children in their care.
Food Allergy Accommodations on Airplanes
Airplanes can be a challenging setting for many people with food allergies.
AAFA and KFA support policies that reduce the risk of in-flight medical emergencies, including:
- Epinephrine auto-injectors: We support policies to promote access to EAIs on all flights to permit rapid response to in-flight emergencies.
- Pre-boarding accommodations: We support regulations that require airlines to allow passengers with food allergies to pre-board. Pre-boarding allows passengers time to wipe off the surfaces of their seating area (seat, armrests, tray) and stow their epinephrine within reach.
Food Allergy Accommodations in Restaurants
Restaurants are a common location for food allergy reactions. Eating out can cause serious stress for people managing food allergies.
Many food service staff don’t know of, or are not following, practices to make eating out safer. Safer restaurants could reduce reactions and reduce stress for people managing food allergies.
AAFA and KFA support state laws that include:
- Posters to educate employees about food allergies in food service businesses
- Food allergy training for food safety managers or other staff
- Requiring the state departments of health to create food allergy resources and training for restaurants
- Labeling of restaurants as “food allergy friendly,” with a publicly searchable database
- Better food allergy labeling on menus
Our Advocacy Efforts for Food Allergy Accommodations
AAFA and KFA support policies and laws that save lives and improve the quality of life for millions of people and families managing food allergies. Because this issue is one of our key policy priorities, we have been actively working to on behalf of the food allergy community to spread awareness to policymakers and other stakeholders. Here is some of the work we have been doing:
Southwest Airlines® to Restore Peanut Allergy Pre-Boarding – December 8, 2022
AAFA Sends Food Allergy Policy Priorities to White House – July 21, 2022
AAFA Sends Letter on Airline Passenger Experience – March 13, 2020
AAFA Sends Letter Expressing Support for S.B. 477
AAFA Sends Letter Supporting Food Allergy Awareness Act HB 1102
It’s Complicated: Epinephrine Auto-Injectors on Planes – October 12, 2019
Become an Advocate
You can help us advocate on this issue and others to help reduce the burden of food allergies. Learn more about becoming a food allergy advocate and watch this page for updates on ways you can raise awareness about this issue.