Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the Senate Wednesday to help travelers coping with severe food allergies. The Air Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, promoted by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of senators.
The bill has three major components. It:
- Calls for airlines to maintain stock epinephrine auto-injectors aboard and train crew members to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to administer the medication;
- Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study and report to Congress on air carrier policies related to passengers with food allergies. The report will cover a range of topics including the variability of existing policies, how they are applied, how staff are trained and how passengers learn about and utilize them;
- Directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to clarify that the epinephrine ampules currently included in medical emergency kits are intended for use during anaphylactic emergencies.
“Air travel can be particularly stressful for individuals and families managing food allergies because they do not have access to emergency medical care,” said Scott Riccio, senior vice president of education and advocacy at FARE. “This legislation will help address some of the biggest challenges faced by airline passengers with food allergies. Our hope is that the findings of the GAO report will lead to the development of clear, consistently applied accommodation policies to help passengers with food allergies make informed choices about their air travel plans. This bill also recognizes the value of carrying easy-to-use epinephrine auto-injectors on aircraft in a manner similar to automatic defibrillators, and includes important provisions that would provide better instructions for use of epinephrine in allergic emergencies.”