Siddharth Mallick of Houston, TX – a fellow member of the No Nuts Moms Group – sent us the following petition he authored and asked us to post it. We love the sentiment, the way it gently makes reference to Malia Obama’s peanut allergy, and the way it capitalizes on the current momentum following the signing of the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act.
Here is the text:
Mr. and Mrs. Obama
The President and First Lady of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President and First Lady:
As parents of a 4 year old with Multiple Food Allergies, we want to thank you for the signing into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. We hope that this would lead to a wider availability of epinephrine in schools, after school programs and eventually in every first aid kit. Not only is this potentially lifesaving for the millions of kids with food allergies but also those who have undiagnosed allergies to foods and insect stings.
It was also humanizing to realize that we are not alone and the first family can empathize with us with regarding to dealing with simple everyday matters that turn out to be life and death situations due to Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis. We hope and pray every day that our kid outgrows his allergies someday and extend the same prayers for your daughter, Malia.
We, as parents of kids with Food Allergies, generally ask for some very basic accommodations that would help us live a normal life and minimize the disruption in our kids’ lifes.
Firstly, we are not sure if you had to face school boards, PTA groups and 504/IEP hearings but that is something we wouldn’t want ANYONE to go through. The pushback from other parents regarding creating nut free schools, one can explain by citing lack of familiarity with the problems. But it is mind boggling how much red tape some parents have to go through in order to create a safe environment for their kids to attend school. Basic schooling is a birth right to each and every resident of the country. Forty years after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and twenty three years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our kids are being discriminated against rampantly. It’s not uncommon for our kids to be left out of field trips and be segregated in lunch rooms. This needs to change. To our son, and millions of kids like him, a peanut butter jelly sandwich is as deadly as a fully load semi-automatic AR-15 and in our opinion neither of these two have a place in schools. In your own words Mr. President, “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”
Secondly, Clear and confusion free labeling on foods would help us out a great deal. We, as parents, spend hours on end researching for safe foods in the grocery store aisles, on the phone with food companies and online. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that the labels of foods containing major food allergens but there are no laws governing or requiring the use of advisory statements for cross contamination risks. If not penalties, at least an incentive to companies to adhere to good manufacturing practices and truthful and not misleading labels would go a long way.
Lastly, we need a cure for this deadly condition. Although some exciting trials are being conducted from various corners of the country and the world, financial support from NIH and the likes will go a long way. Several thousand of us work with groups like FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) to raise money and grow bonds within the food allergy community. Every summer FARE organizes several walks around the country. Although this is not in any official capacity, we would like to extend an invitation to you and your family to join us at one of these walks in the near future.
Again, we would like to thank you Mr. President, Congressmen Phil Roe and Steny Hoyer and Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and all the food folks at FARE for voicing our concerns and championing this legislation.
Viji and Sid Mallick
Parents of Anurag, 4 year old with Multiple Food Allergies.
Sign the petition at Change.org and be sure to pass it on!
And on behalf of the Mallick family… Thank You!