February 1, 2023

FDA: Sesame joins major food allergens list on January 1

4 min read


Starting January 1, sesame will be added to the list of food allergens defined by law. US Food and Drug Administration.

This change comes as a result of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act, or Faster Actwhich was signed into law in April 2021.

The FDA has been reviewing for several years whether to add sesame seeds to a large list of food allergens — including milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat. And soybeans are included. The inclusion of sesame on the list of important food allergens means that foods containing sesame will be specified. Food allergen regulatory requirementsincluding those related to labeling and manufacturing.

Sesame allergies affect people of all ages and can manifest as coughing, itchy throat, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy mouth, difficulty breathing, wheezing and low blood pressure, Dr. Robert Eichs, allergist. , immunologist and attending physician at Cedars-Sinai. Medical Center in Los Angeles told CNN in 2020.

According to the agency’s website, the FDA inspects and samples food products to ensure that major food allergens are properly labeled and to determine whether food facilities contain allergens. Interrupting communication.

“This means that the lives of 1.6 million Americans with life-threatening sesame allergies improve as of January 1, 2023,” said Jason Linde, Food Allergy Research and Education’s senior vice president of government and community affairs. A private funder of food allergy research helped get the act passed faster.

Sesame is “in dozens and dozens of ingredients,” Linde said, but it wasn’t always listed by name.

“For years, (people) with a life-threatening sesame allergy would have to look at the back of the label, call the manufacturer and try to figure it out,” he said. “If it was added, it was only added as a natural spice or flavor.”

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, “is a huge victory for the food allergy community,” Linde said.

Before the FASTER Act, FDA recommended. Food manufacturers have voluntarily listed sesame as an ingredient on food labels in November 2020. The guidance was not required and was intended to help people with sesame allergies identify foods that may contain the seed.

Under regulations prior to the 2020 recommendation, sesame had to be declared on a label if the whole seed was used as an ingredient. But labeling was not required when sesame was used as a flavoring or in a spice mixture. It wasn’t even needed for a product like tahini, which is made from sesame paste. Some people don’t know that tahini is made from sesame seeds.

While such guidance was appreciated, “Voluntary guidance is just that — it’s voluntary,” Linde said. “Companies don’t have to follow that, and many didn’t.”

“The way FDA identifies an allergen that must be labeled is because of the number of people with allergies,” FARE’s former chief executive officer, Lisa Gable, previously told CNN. Take the mole for example: What has happened is that you have an increase in the number of people who anaphylaxis due to moles. There are differing opinions as to why this is, but one reason may be that it is now a staple within many dietary trends.

As plant-based and vegan foods have become more popular, the widespread consumption of nuts and seeds has been an issue that has come up more frequently, Eitches said.

“We are reminding consumers that beginning in 2023, foods in interstate commerce, including on retail shelves, will need to be removed from the market or relabeled to declare sesame as an allergen,” the FDA said in a Dec. 15 statement. No,” the FDA said in a Dec. 15 statement. “Depending on shelf life, some food products may not have allergen labeling for sesame on the effective date. Consumers should check with the manufacturer if they are unsure whether a food product contains sesame. Or not.”

Linde said many companies have already begun the process of labeling their products, but it can take three to six months to sell or remove foods currently on the shelf. Some foods, such as soups, also have a longer shelf life.

Etches said people with sesame allergies can stay safe by being “very careful” about eating certain foods, especially at restaurants.

He added that Middle Eastern, vegetarian and Japanese restaurants are more likely to include different forms of sesame in their dishes.

Eitches said people who suspect they are sensitive or allergic to mole should see a specialist who can answer their questions and provide medications or equipment for emergencies.

Adrenaline and epinephrine are more effective than diphenhydramine, he added. If an allergic reaction occurs, be prepared with any medications or devices and seek medical help.

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