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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 10, 2015 01:14 PM
From: Representative Angel Cruz
To: All House members
Subject: Peanut free zones and guidelines for managing life-threatening food allergies in Schools and child day care centers
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation regarding peanut/tree nut allergies among children. This legislation will require peanut/tree nut free tables in school cafeterias when a student is known to have a peanut/tree allergy, as well as require the Department of Health to develop guidelines regarding reasonable accommodations to be made in child day care centers to limit exposure to food allergens by children.

As you may know, food allergies are an increasing food safety and public health concern in the United States, especially among children. In fact, the National Institutes of Health recognizes that food allergies are a life-threatening and debilitating disease for more than 12 million Americans, including more than 4 million children. Furthermore, food allergies are increasing at an alarming rate as the number of children diagnosed with a peanut allergy doubled over the past five years. For many children, eating even a trace amount of an allergenic food can induce a life-threatening reaction, including severe vomiting, swelling of the tongue and throat, loss of consciousness, and even death in a relatively short period of time. This is cause for grave concern as many of the most common allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish) are staples of the average school child's diet.

As there is currently no cure for these potentially fatal allergies, the only certain path to keep children safe is by providing children suffering from severe food allergies with safe environments in schools and child day care centers. This legislation would provide for that safety by offering a safe place for students to sit in the school cafeteria, as well as for much needed guidelines to help make our younger children safe within their schools and child day care centers. These guidelines would provide the best measurable protection within the learning environment, as well as help to meet the demands of the dramatically increasing number of children affected by food allergies.


Document #1

Introduced as HB534

Description: Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (p.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, further providing for definitions; and providing for notice of peanut or tree nut allergies.
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Document #2

Introduced as HB533

Description: Amending the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No. 21), known as the Public Welfare Code, providing for food allergy guidelines.
  View Attachment