Hope 10-year-old testifies before legislative committee

By Daniel Dunkle | Mar 15, 2019
Courtesy of: Heather Forcillo Daniel Forcillo of Hope, who has life-threatening food allergies, testifies before members of the Legislature's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee March 12 in Augusta.

Hope — Daniel Forcillo, 10, of Hope, traveled to Augusta March 12 to testify in favor of a bill that would require ingredient lists in certain retail food locations.

Forcillo, who has life-threatening food allergies, and his mother, Heather Forcillo, spoke out in favor of the bill, LD 515, before the members of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. The bill was presented by Rep. Bill Pluecker, I-Warren.

"My biggest wish in life is to not have food allergies, and I hope that someday there is a cure," Daniel said. "Until then, I will have to carry my medicine bag with me wherever I go, in case I have an allergic reaction."

These reactions range from itchy hives to trouble breathing, and he spoke about the scary situations in which he had to ride in ambulances with the lights and sirens going.

"I need to speak up about the importance of food labeling and safety," he said. "...I have to know what is in my food, or I can’t eat it. There are a lot of times that I am left out of classroom celebrations and other fun events because of my food allergies. I have even had to leave fun places because there are nuts there. ...It would be great to know what is in more foods, especially things that are baked and smell delicious. A food label helps me and my parents to decide if a food is safe for me to eat."

Even small bits of nuts or residue can be dangerous to him and means missed classes, sporting events or other activities.

"If you are able to support this bill, the ingredient information will be helpful in so many situations," he said.

His mother shared some important statistics. "Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. That’s one in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. About 40 percent of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food."

"As the mother of a child with severe food and environmental allergies, I constantly look for ways to make Daniel’s world safer," she said.

"...My husband and I owned The Hope General Store in Hope, Maine, for almost five years, and we sold bakery items, pizza and other freshly prepared food," she said. "I realize the extra work that creating food ingredient information will cause, but I also realize that such information will be empowering for employees and customers. The more employees know, the better they can serve patrons, and good service often results in more business. I think that LD 515 could result in a win-win situation for business owners and customers."

Daniel Forcillo of Hope, who has life-threatening food allergies, testified before members of the Legislature's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee March 12 in Augusta. (Courtesy of: Heather Forcillo)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 15, 2019 15:36

Good luck Daniel. Prayers from Arizona...I too owned and operated Hope Store in Hope. It was a good place for my children to grow up. All 4 of them. Blessings!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever  -- Former Post Master...Supervised by Camden Postmaster...

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