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'It's close to home' 11-year-old boy advocates for students with food allergies

AB 2714 would ensure schools have access to the most up-to-date epinephrine delivery methods
Posted at 10:49 AM, Apr 04, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — After experiencing two anaphylactic reactions at 6-years-old, Zacky Muñoz decided to work with legislators to provide more resources for people with food allergies.

  • Video shows Zacky Muñoz, an 11-year-old, with food allergies advocating for schools to have access to the most recent FDA-approved epinephrine delivery methods.
  • Food Allergy Research and Education shows 33 million Americans are living with food allergies and 1 in 13 kids with dietary restrictions.

Some kids in the lunchroom don’t have to worry about what ingredients are in their food, but Zacky Muñoz has food allergies, so he needs to know what’s in his meals, and he’s using his experiences to help other kids like him.
“Is it okay if you change your gloves? I have food allergies," Zacky asked in a viral video of him ordering food at Chipotle. "Thank you,” he said when the server changed his gloves.

Zacky Muñoz, an 11-year-old boy from Los Angeles, advocates for himself every day when he’s planning his meals, and now he’s doing the same for others like him too.

“It’s really close to home for me, and eliminating fear and anxiety when having an anaphylactic reaction is something I think is really important,” he said.

Zacky is allergic to nuts, shellfish, beans, peas, avocados, sesame, and olives, and tells me he had two anaphylactic reactions at six years old while he ate lunch at school.

“From injecting a needle to just having all these symptoms, it was pretty scary.”

Priscilla Hernandez, Zacky’s mom, says as a parent she wants to protect her son, but also teaches him to be prepared and stand up for himself in case of an emergency.

“These times do come," Hernandez said. "They do come, and unfortunately, it’s part of having food allergies.”

Food Allergy Research and Education shows 33 million Americans are living with food allergies and 1 in 13 kids with dietary restrictions.

Because of that, Zacky says he wanted to take action.

“After those two allergic reactions, me and my mom sat down and thought how we can make change for kids with food allergies like us,” Zacky said.

Together, they created Zacky’s bill which provided information about food allergies through the California Food Allergy Resource Guide, which Governor Newsom eventually signed into law.

Then, Zacky moved on to his next bill, sharing his testimony to get the Muñoz Safe Act passed which requires training for school staff to administer epinephrine in case of an emergency.

It’s yet another bill passed into law for Zacky, and now he’s onto the newest bill, Assembly Bill 2714 to give schools access to the latest FDA-approved epinephrine delivery methods.

“This next one is focused on the future. As we do get more research and resources, we want to make sure that they’re accessible,” Hernandez said.

Chantel Stansberry with the Panama-Buena Vista School District, says staff are trained annually on the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction along with how to administer the treatment.

“Part of our policy is that all of our school nurses have to be trained in administering epinephrine. We have epinephrine on sight at all of our campuses as well," she said.

She says the district offers epinephrine training to anyone who completes CPR training to increase the number of staff who can help a student in an emergency, adding the amount of treatment administered to students is fairly low.

Zacky hopes to see this bill passed into law, but in the meantime, he says he wants to show the world the daily life of living with food allergies to make an impact on others like him.

“If we’re giving out information and resources, soon this world might know more about food allergies, and it will be a safer world for everyone.”

The bill was heard on consent in the education committee on Wednesday and will move onto the appropriations committee.

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