"After I discovered that Congress is responsible for declaring particular foods allergens, I was curious as to the source of their data; therefore, I conducted my own research. I contacted a representative with the Lee Memorial Health System and my own allergist in Fort Myers, FL, and posed the following question: Are hospitals and/or allergists required to submit allergy testing results and/or anaphylactic reactions (with the offending food/drug) into a state or government database? I was surprised to discover that there are no reporting requirements. If Congress is responsible for declaring a particular food an allergen (per the FDA); and since there is no government clearinghouse from which to gather this information, how is Congress able to make the determination as to which foods are to be declared allergens? I have contacted over a dozen government agencies, and no one knows the answer to this question.
As a result of my findings, I would like to suggest two possible resolutions for the benefit of Congress, as well as for the benefit of those suffering with allergies:
1. Establish an online database of allergy statistics, through an "Allergy Registry." This registry would be voluntary and include only allergies confirmed by physicians--not self-diagnosed--and would also include the most important statistic: anaphylactic reactions. This would be an invaluable tool for Congress in declaring foods allergens. For example, there are many corn allergy support groups. In one group, alone, the membership has increased by 321.8% in 32 months with an average of 100.6 new members/month, many of whom are anaphylactic to corn/corn derivatives, such as corn-derived dextrose IV fluids and corn-derived citric acid. How is Congress expected to know about this dramatic increase in corn allergies if there are no reporting requirements into a state or government database? The proposed "Allergy Registry" would expose this dramatic increase in corn allergies as well as provide valuable data on other allergens.
2. Request a Congressional mandate that hospitals and allergists report all allergy/anaphylactic statistics into a government database (just the statistics--no patient names for privacy purposes). Without this reporting requirement, how can Congress (the responsible body for declaring foods allergens) make an informed decision about which foods to declare as official allergens, which would then be subject to FDA labeling requirements?"