At Food Equality Initiative, food is medicine. We fight for nutrition security and health equity for all.
We believe that food is medicine to treat and manage medical conditions such as food allergies, celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, hypertension, and more. We also believe food is medicine to prevent illness and improve overall health through the regular consumption of nutritious food, otherwise known as nutrition security.
To recognize the potential of Food is Medicine, Food Equality Initiative (FEI) serves in three different ways: Access, Education, and Advocacy. We already broke down our first two pillars: Access & Education. So, let’s dive into our final pillar: Advocacy.
FEI supports research to identify needs in the diet-treated community and discover gaps in legal coverage and representation.
We work hand-in-hand with nonprofit allies, governmental programs, health care providers, the food industry, and our FEI Family Members to make change, because we know individuals cannot get very far on their own. We take the concerns we unearth through our research projects to the next level by lobbying for legislative and institutional change.
Our goal is to find ways to best serve traditionally under-represented populations in healthcare, particularly along the lines of race and income – towards a greater state of health equity.
Here are examples of some ways we are advocating for health equity:
- FARE and FEI drafted a letter for the Food Allergy Collaborative to send to the White House encouraging the administration to take food allergies into consideration when discussing the topics of hunger, nutrition, and health. Read it here.
National Food is Medicine Day
- FEI declared National Food is Medicine Day on September 14th.
- National Food is Medicine Day raises awareness of embedded barriers to healthy food access for under-resourced families and individuals that exacerbate chronic disease, increase mental health challenges, and drive up medical costs. It calls for private enterprise, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to join together to overcome these barriers that are a leading cause of death in the US. Learn more here.
Elijah’s Law for Kansas and Missouri
- Elijah’s Law, which represents a watershed moment in the knowledge of food allergies, requires that childcare centers and schools develop standards and give the training to recognize and avoid the danger of anaphylaxis in children and young adults. This crucial piece of legislation was passed in New York in 2019 and in Illinois in 2021. It has also been introduced in the governments of Pennsylvania and California.
- FEI is working to pass this piece of legislation in Kansas and Missouri. Learn more here.
Food and Drug Administration’s Safety and Landmark Advancements Act (FDA SLA)
- In August, FEI signed a letter, along with a diverse group of consumer, health professional, food safety, academic, and environmental organizations, encouraging US House and Senate leaders to continue supporting the SLA. In that Act, there are safeguards that help ensure Americans have access to safe dietary supplements, accurate tests used in clinical medicine, a safe and reliable supply of infant formula and other essential medical foods, and more. Read it here.
- FDASLA Update: In late September 2022, the user fee provisions were stripped from the continuing resolution. The next opportunity to have forward progress on this will be in December 2022.