EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

September 25, 2009

Salem boy to ask Congress to pass food allergies bill

Salem boy to lobby Congress for bill's passage

SALEM — Chris Giuliano never orders french fries from a fast-food restaurant.

It doesn't mean he doesn't like them, he just doesn't know if they will make him sick.

Chris, 13, is just like any other teenager who likes to play hockey and perform in school plays.

But he is also allergic to fish, shellfish, peanuts, legumes and sesame seeds.

Chris hopes that after a trip to Washington next week to ask lawmakers to pass a food allergy bill, coping with such allergies may be easier for other kids someday.

He is one of 80 youngsters from across the country chosen by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network to speak to Congress on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 about a bill that would fund food allergy research and help schools manage students who have such allergies.

Chris said he applied because he wanted to help others with similar problems. "It's going to be a good feeling," he said.

He's already written letters to New Hampshire's lawmakers and requested a meeting to discuss the legislation, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act.

Eating seems so simple, but each meal can pose challenges for someone with food allergies, said Chris' mother, Karen Giuliano. Chris said he has to read the label of each item to make sure it won't make him sick.

Eating in restaurants or at summer camp can be even more challenging but Chris said most restaurants he has been to were accommodating. "It's not unusual for the chef to come out and check that everything is OK," he said.

But there's always surprises, and nuts can be hidden ingredients in some foods.

Anything breaded almost always contains sesame seeds; ice cream often contains traces of nuts; and even chili is sometimes made with peanut butter.

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