In early 2003, an ad hoc group of 15 leaders in the celiac community came together to help persuade Congress to require food labels to include information about allergens.
A year later, in June 2004, the National Institutes of Health convened a consensus panel on celiac disease. The expert panel noted the lack of a national federation working together to advance education, research and to advocate on behalf of individuals with the disease. Several speakers highlighted the work of the American Celiac Task Force (the predecessor to the ACDA) which was spearheading a grassroots effort to improve the nation’s food labeling laws.
The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law on August 3, 2004, easing much of the guesswork in food shopping for those with celiac disease and food allergies. The unified voice of the community had been heard.
With this achievement, the Task Force realized the need for a permanent advocacy organization and elected to become the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA). The 501(c)(3) non-profit represents and advocates on behalf of the entire celiac community — patients, physicians, researchers, and food manufacturers, and other service providers.
Our efforts to serve the community include:
The ACDA represents all segments of the celiac community through
– Providing the first ever testimony to Congress about celiac disease and the need for increased funding for celiac research. This effort helped spur the need for the NIH Consensus Conference on Celiac Disease;
– Providing technical assistance to House and Senate staff on the needs of individuals with celiac disease in preparation for congressional action on the landmark labeling legislation.
– Developing and executing a grassroots strategy to advocate for passage of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act;
– Providing guidance to food manufacturers on requirements of the new labeling law;
– Providing assistance to federal regulatory agencies – FDA, USDA, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid – on issues relating to celiac disease.