Enjoy Life Foods Applauds Obama Signing of Bill to Require EpiPens in Schools Nationwide to Prevent Allergic Reactions

New law permits trained personnel to administer injections to children on-site

Today President Obama is signing into law a bill to require EpiPens in all schools as a measure to provide protection to children with food allergies. The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, sponsored by Illinois senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and passed by both the House and Senate, provides an incentive for states to allow schools to maintain an emergency supply of EpiPens. EpiPens are auto-injectors that help treat anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction.

In the event of anaphylaxis, epinephrine (via an EpiPen) can be used to stop deadly swelling of the throat and tongue. Without treatment, anaphylaxis is a life-threatening event which can be fatal in minutes. The new law permits trained school personnel to give the shots to any student in an emergency situation.

One in every 13 children—nearly 6 million—has food allergies, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). This is equivalent to about two children in every classroom. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America about 25% of children who experience anaphylaxis experience it for the first time at school.

“One out of every 25 kids has a food allergy—that’s more than one per classroom in many schools. We’ve all heard sad stories about students trying a new food at lunch and accidentally eating something that’s dangerous. Our hearts ache when we hear stories like these, and in many cases such terrible outcomes could have been prevented,” said US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “I am proud that today the President signed into law our bipartisan legislation to help schools be prepared to avoid such tragedies. I could not have asked for a better partner in this effort than Senator Kirk. We can do better for the kids across America, and this bill moves us in the right direction.”

The new law is widely praised by advocates for kids with allergies, as well as Free-From food manufacturers such as Enjoy Life Foods (Schiller Park, IL). Their food products are all certified gluten-free and contain no wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish or shellfish—the allergens that account for 90% of all food allergic reactions in the United States.

“We are proud of this new law which originated with legislative representatives from our state, and was signed by the president who calls Chicago home,” said Scott Mandell, CEO and founder of Enjoy Life Foods. “We applaud the signing of this bill into law, knowing that it has the potential to save lives. We are happy to be part of a strong community that is looking out for the welfare of so many children who live every day with the threat of these increasingly common food allergies.”