Mother Fights For Food Allergy Bill After Son's Death

An Austin resident is pushing for lawmakers to create a bill that would require the 14 most common allergens, including peanuts, to be labeled on menus.

Sergio Lopez was close to graduating college when his life ended last summer.{} He had a severe peanut allergy, something his mother Belinda Vaca discovered when he was just 3 years-old.

"I was making peanut butter cookies and his face was all swelled up I thought something bit him," she said.

Vaca said her son was very careful to avoid peanuts.{} The day he died he ordered a taco from a restaurant asking several times if the food contained peanuts.{} "He asked, he always asked, I want to make sure this doesn't have peanut products and they said no, no, no," she said.

But his death certificate shows otherwise.{} Lopez went into anaphylactic shock after eating the taco and later died at the hospital.

"My son who was full of life died because of someone ignorance, because they didn't take the time to ask the owner, the manager, does this product contain peanuts," she said.{} It was Vaca's biggest fear.

Amid her grief and sorrow, she set out on a mission.{} "I knew I wanted to do something the day he died I don't want this to ever happen again," she said.

Vaca has spent the past week lobbying Texas lawmakers to draft a food allergy bill.{} She hopes the bill will require allergens to be labeled on menus and require employees to go through training.

"If they do not comply that they should be fined," she said.

Vaca believes people with food allergies should not have to avoid restaurants or live in fear that eating at one could cost them their life.

"It's basically a poison to these individuals," Texas Rep. Oscar Longoria, District 35, said.{} Longoria is one of the lawmakers Vaca is asking to file a bill.

He said he is looking into the matter.{} "Nobody does anything intentionally but we can't just be careless about the problem." He said.
He said especially when lives are at stake.

With the deadline to file a bill this legislation looming, Vaca is hoping someone steps up and takes the lead on this issue.

"He was my only child," Vaca said. "I didn't just lose a child I lost a future daughter in law, future grandchildren, I will not have none of that ever again."

By: Nadia Galindo
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