In 2009, FAI merged with The Food Allergy Project, creating the largest private source of funding for food allergy research in the United States.
The present organization, which uses the FAI name, has contributed more than $65 million toward the fulfillment of its mission. FAI is headquartered in New York, with volunteer committees in Chicago and the Northwest, and strong relationships with food allergy support groups and advocates througout the country. A national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we are supported solely by donations from corporations, foundations, and dedicated individuals.
FAI supports basic and clinical research worldwide. FAI-sponsored research seeks to find a cure and improve clinical treatment, including anaphylaxis and chronic diseases of the skin and gastrointestinal tract caused by food allergy. The FAI Medical Advisory Board, which comprises leading experts in the field, identifies and recommends the most promising studies for funding and ensures that all research is rigorously peer reviewed.
FAI-sponsored research includes:
The first collaboration between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and any private organization in the food allergy area—a $10 million, seven-year study to determine whether the early introduction of peanuts into children’s diets will prevent the development of peanut allergies.
The Food Allergy Genomic Initiative, which is deciphering the proteins in food allergens in an effort to develop safe and effective vaccines.
The Food Allergy Resource Initiative, which is obtaining key proteins from all major food allergens for use by researchers worldwide.
The development of a Chinese herbal therapy that would protect patients with peanut, tree nut, fish,and shellfish allergies against anaphylaxis, currently undergoing FDA Phase I clinical testing.
In addition, FAI has forged partnerships that have furthered the study of food allergy:
In 2005, FAI successfully advocated for Congress and the NIH to commit $17 million to establish the Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), a group of five leading medical centers that conducts important studies.
To further the careers of gifted young researchers, FAI and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) launched the AAAAI/Food Allergy Initiative Howard Gittis Memorial Research Fellowship/Instructor Award Program.
By funding multi-disciplinary programs involving allergists, immunologists, pediatricians, internists, gastroenterologists, nutritionists, and patients, FAI seeks to improve the identification and treatment of people at risk for food allergies.
Since 1998, FAI has supported the expansion of the clinical activities of The Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York, NY), an internationally known center of excellence, to ensure that more patients can be tested, treated, and educated about their diagnosis and care. FAI funding also helped the University of Michigan Health System to create a state-of-the-art Food Allergy Clinic in Ann Arbor.
FAI serves as a voice for millions of families to call on the federal government and private sources to collaborate in search of a cure. We work to develop and implement public policies that improve the quality of life for people with food allergies, playing an integral role in establishing national, state, and local guidelines for anaphylaxis and food safety.
FAI played a central role in the national effort to pass the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). This life-saving law requires that food labels list, in plain language, whether any of the eight major food allergens (peanut, tree nuts, egg, milk, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat) are contained in a product. To help monitor compliance, FAI presented a survey of over 20,000 food labels to the FDA, and is conducting an additional in-depth survey that addresses the issue of cross-contamination in manufacturing.
Other public policy wins include landmark New York and New Jersey laws that require schools to develop food allergy management guidelines and policies; a bill that requires New York City food service establishments to display a poster that educates employees about food allergies; and a policy mandating that all New York City basic life support ambulances carry epinephrine autoinjectors.
Education and Patient Services
FAI promotes increased awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis among the media, health care workers, camps, restaurants, food manufacturers, and education and childcare professionals.
To educate the hospitality industry about food allergies and cross-contamination, FAI funded the creation of the first Food Allergy Training Guide for Restaurants and Food Services, distributed nationwide by the National Restaurant Association.
Acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs who have worked with FAI to train their staff include: David Bouley (Bouley); Daniel Boulud (Daniel);Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se); Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque); Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group); Drew Nieporent (Myriad Restaurant Group); Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac, and André Soltner (The French Culinary Institute); Marcus Samuelsson (Acquavit), and Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini (the Four Seasons).
FAI funds a program that provides life-saving MedicAlert® jewelry to children and adults with food allergies who could not otherwise afford them.
With funds raised by its volunteer committees in the Northwest and Chicago, FAI funded a new position, the Food Allergy Community Educator, at Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, and helped expand the food allergy education program at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
FAI provides educational materials and information to food-allergic patients and families.