On June 26, Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan (AD16 D-Orinda), held a press conference at Camp Arroyo in Livermore and stood with food allergy safety proponents to call attention to the growing deadly epidemic of food allergies and to urge passage of AB 1532, a bill which seeks to limit deadly allergen contaminations in restaurants and camps.

Bauer-Kahan has introduced AB 1532 – The Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Act, this legislative session in honor of Natalie Giorgi, a 13-year-old whom tragically passed away due to a severe reaction to a peanut allergy while at summer camp. Natalie’s parents, Louis and Joanne Giorgi, who reside in AD16 (Danville), created the Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation and have become relentless advocates for food allergy safety.

“After learning of Natalie’s heartbreaking story and meeting with her parents and their foundation, I was inspired to act to ensure this never happens to another child,” said Bauer-Kahan. “An hour of a food handler’s time could literally save lives,” she finished.

AB 1532 will protect individuals with severe food allergies requiring all food handlers to have a simple certification in safe food handling practices for major food allergens. This bill also would add “Organized Camps” to the definition of “Food Facility” for the basis of training individuals who handle food at camp.

In the United States, as many as 15 million people have a food allergy including 6 million children. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies result in more than 200,000 ambulatory care visits a year involving children under the age of 18.

"With nearly 10 percent of the population now affected by food allergies, raising food allergy training and awareness is more important than ever. This bill will help keep us all safer so Natalie's story is never repeated. We are grateful for the Assemblymember's leadership on this bill as it will improve the protection for all of us. Simple, smart steps with huge implications—lifesaving implications,” said Natalie’s parents Louis and Joanne Giorgi.

The number of food allergy reactions requiring emergency treatment has sharply increased over the last decade, with a 377-percent rise in individuals receiving medical treatment for anaphylaxis. Reactions typically occur when an individual unknowingly eats a food containing an ingredient to which the individual is allergic.

There is no cure for food allergies and scientists do not understand why allergies occur. Strict avoidance of the offending food is the only way to prevent severe allergic reaction.

The press conference on June 26th was held at Camp Arroyo which is operated by The Taylor Family Foundation in partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District, and has been at the forefront of safe food allergen handling for decades – proving that these simple steps can be extremely effective and easily implemented.

“For nearly 20 years we have strived to bring the very best quality of food and service to all the children and families we serve in partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District. We look forward to continuing to preserve the wellness of children in Northern California,” said The Taylor Family Foundation Executive Director, Angie Carmignani.

In California, currently only one individual at any food facility that prepares, handles, or serves non-prepackaged food must be certified in food handling practice for allergens. The individual who is certified is not required to be on the premises during normal business hours. Support for the bill includes a wide range of medical, community and health organizations including; The Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation, California Medical Association, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, California Allergy Support & Anaphylaxis Prevention, California Society for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (CSAAI), Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Food Allergy & Research Education, Food Allergy Support Team of the East Bay and the Stanford Medicine Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research.

The bill passed out of Senate Appropriations and is currently set to be heard on the Senate Floor in the next two weeks. It has already passed the Assembly Floor on a bipartisan 76-0 vote.

Support for the bill includes a wide range of medical, community and health organizations including; The Natalie Giorgi Sunshine Foundation, California Medical Association, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, California Allergy Support & Anaphylaxis Prevention, California Society for Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (CSAAI), Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT), Food Allergy & Research Education, Food Allergy Support Team of the East Bay and the Stanford Medicine Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy & Asthma Research.

The bill passed out of Senate Appropriations and is currently set to be heard on the Senate Floor in the next two weeks. It has already passed the Assembly Floor on a bipartisan 76-0 vote.