Sesame Added to FDA ‘Major Allergens’ Listed on Food Labels

By Matis Glenn


Foods sold in the U.S. will now be required to list sesame as an allergen, according to updated FDA guidelines.

Sesame has joined the list of eight “major allergens” – ingredients which account for the overwhelming majority of severe, even fatal reactions in people who are allergic. Those include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, fish, eggs, shellfish, wheat and soybeans.

Dangerous food allergies aren’t limited to that list – virtually any substance can cause an allergic reaction, be it mild or severe, in people, depending on how their body reacts to the agent.

President Biden signed a law adding sesame to the list in April. Food that is already in commerce, or on store shelves before the regulations come into effect, are still permitted to be sold and do not require relabeling, the FDA said in a statement.

Over 1.5 million people suffer from sesame allergies, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). The organization told Fox News that the number of people affected has increased significantly worldwide over the past two years.

According to CDC data, childhood food allergies have increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.

FARE also said that previously, sesame was a hidden ingredient in many foods, included under the term “natural seasonings” or “natural flavors.”

Since 2004, the government has required food producers to list major allergens on packaging.

Around 32 million Americans – almost 10 percent of the population —  live with potentially life-threatening food allergies, according to FARE. That figure includes 5.6 million children.   

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