Sunday, February 25, 2018

My February 25, 2018, Letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

February 25, 2018

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Certified Mail)
200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 639G
Washington, DC 20201

Re: Corn Allergy: A Potentially Life-Threatening Diagnosis

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

            A corn allergy is potentially a life-threatening diagnosis, since hospitals are not mandated to stock corn-free foods, liquids, or medications (except saline-only IV fluid).  After my surgery in March, 2017, the hospital could not comply with the surgeon-ordered, liquid-only diet since all of the liquids they offered me contained corn derivatives; e.g., corn-derived ascorbic acid, even though my allergy to corn was clearly documented in my medical records.  The hospital failed in their responsibility to contact the manufacturers to inquire if the liquids contained corn/corn derivatives (corn allergen warnings are voluntary on product labels). 

            The National Institutes of Health (NIH) confirmed to me that their in-home surveys do not address food allergies and no allergies for anyone over the age of 18.  After conducting my own research, I discovered that physicians and hospitals are exempt from reporting allergy statistics/allergic reactions into any state and/or government database; therefore, it is dangerous and irresponsible for any person, medical professional, government agency, or professional organization to declare that an allergy to a particular food is rare; e.g., maize (corn).  As a result, my state FDA representative encouraged me to track the statistics of one of many corn allergy groups [1] representing a "sample population."  The alarming growth statistics (633.6% increase in the last 55 months) are indicative of an emerging corn allergy crisis; and should far exceed the threshold for declaring corn an official allergen, thereby subject to FDA labeling requirements. [2]

                As you are aware, the corn allergy population can consume very few processed foods, and no commercially-processed meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, or produce due to government-authorized corn-derived acid washes.  Organic products must be thoroughly washed in a bath of filtered water (tap water may corn due to corn-derived purification chemicals, and it is difficult finding a water purification system that is manufactured without corn-derived components), Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is derived from corn), and baking soda to remove any corn residue due to cross-contact through the many stages of shipping, processing, handling, and packaging.  As a result, hospitals are ill-equipped to treat/nourish corn-allergic patients; particularly since corn is ubiquitous and corn allergen warnings are voluntary. Therefore, we are currently required to supply our own sources of corn-free products while hospitalized. What would happen if our hospital admissions were due to an emergency?

            I recently completed my 3-year project of contacting the majority of United States hospitals/health systems addressing the protocol for treating corn-allergic patients, [3] due to the alarming number of personal testimonies confirming that many medical professionals do not understand the critical, potentially life-threatening difference between dextrose and corn-derived dextrose, citric acid and corn-derived citric acid, ascorbic acid and corn-derived ascorbic acid, etc.  Among other critical corn allergy reference links, I provided each hospital with a copy of the product information sheet for dextrose IV fluids from Baxter Laboratories, since many medical professionals insisted on administering dextrose IV fluids to corn-allergic patients in direct violation of the warning on the product information sheet. [4]

            Due to the false and dangerous claims published on the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), “Ask the Expert,” and American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), “Ask the Allergist,” websites related to corn allergies, I also contacted the majority of world-wide pharmaceutical companies after a compounding pharmacist actually told a corn-allergic patient that “cornstarch is not really corn.” [5]  As a result, I have been challenging their "expert" opinion articles; and was successful in having one "expert" paper removed from the AAAAI, "Ask the Expert" website.  I went so far as to personally contact each contributing "expert."  I am now challenging an extremely dangerous statement on the ACAAI website that can endanger the lives of the corn allergy population:

            "Most corn-derived products, like cornstarch and high-fructose corn syrup, do not contain corn protein. If you have a corn allergy, you do not need to avoid these products."

However, since they have declared that they have no intention of removing this false and misleading claim, I filed a petition with demanding that they remove or revise their statement. [6], [7], [8]  These two associations advocate for strict avoidance of a person’s allergen, with the exception of corn allergies. My concern is that their major contributors may represent the corn industry which would constitute a conflict of interest.  I am appealing to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to immediately demand that the ACAAI remove this statement for the safety of the corn allergy population.  For your information, I only tested at 1+ to corn on skin-scratch testing in 2011; yet my allergic reactions to cornstarch, corn syrup, and all other corn products/derivatives are quite severe.

            In an effort to protect corn-allergic patients during hospitalization, I have also appealed to The Joint Commission [9].  Hospitals must understand that they are responsible for contacting manufacturers directly to inquire if food products, liquids, and drugs contain corn/corn derivatives.

            I would like to offer a recommendation that Congress, in conjunction with the FDA, issue an emergency mandatory labeling order for corn/corn derivatives contained in “ingestible” products at this time for the safety of the corn allergy population; otherwise, corn allergy warnings would be required on clothing, paper products, cleaning products, personal hygiene products, etc.; however, those who are inhalation-reactive or contact-reactive to corn/corn derivatives would still experience difficulty navigating this devastating allergy.  If this recommendation is not feasible, I would like Congress to issue an emergency mandate requiring that hospitals stock corn-free food products, liquids, and drugs (compounded to exclude corn/corn derivatives) for the safety of corn-allergic patients.

            On behalf of the corn allergy population, thank you for your attention to this growing concern.  Please feel free to email me at


Corn Allergy Advocacy/Resources

cc:       Senator Bill Nelson (Certified Mail)
            716 Senate Hart Office Building
            Washington, DC 20510

            Senator Marco Rubio (Certified Mail)
            716 Senate Hart Office Building
            Washington, DC 20510

            Representative Francis Rooney (Certified Mail)
            120 Cannon House Office Building
            Washington, DC 20002

            U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Certified Mail)
            10903 New Hampshire Avenue
            Silver Spring, MD 20993

[1] Corn Allergy & Intolerance (Maize, Zea Mays)
[2] “Corn Allergy Statistics (Monthly)”
[3] “United States Hospitals/Health Systems Contacted Re: Protocol for Treating Corn-Allergic Patients”
[4] Baxter Labs specifically warns about administering dextrose IV fluids to corn-allergic patients.
 "Solutions containing dextrose should be used with caution, if at all, in patients with known allergy to corn or corn products." - Page 3
[5] Pharmaceutical Companies Contacted Re: Protocol for Treating Corn-Allergic Patients
[6] Demand that the ACAAI Remove False Statement Re: Cornstarch/High Fructose Corn Syrup
[7] ACAAI - My Rebuttal Concerning Cornstarch and High Fructose Corn Syrup
[8] Removing a Food Protein Does Not Guarantee an Allergen Hypoallergenic”
[9] My Submission to The Joint Commission on Behalf of Corn-Allergic Patients

"Thank you for contacting me regarding legislative proposals to require the Food and Drug Administration to better regulate corn-derived products in hospitals and other healthcare establishments. I am always interested in hearing from Floridians who provide me with perspectives about the problems facing our State and nation. These issues are of considerable importance to me, and I am glad that you took the time to send me your thoughts."

UPDATE JUNE 28, 2018:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated in my phone call to them that they are still in the process of responding to my February 25, 2018, letter.

Diane H., Corn Allergy Advocate
Corn Allergy Advocacy/Resources


  1. Thank you Diane for your efforts in behalf of persons suffering from repeated, accidental corn exposures without any assistance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

    What will it take to have products labeled properly, with corn listed as an ingredient, regardless of the quantity or use of corn contained?

  2. I have been a full-time corn allergy advocate for over 5 years, and it is clear that it is a difficult process and uphill battle to have a food declared an official allergen subject to FDA labeling requirements. However, I will continue to fight for all of us!