Dr Susan Mayne, Director of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), suggests that Sesame may soon be added to the list of major allergens after a rise of cases in the US. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology claim sesame to be the 9th most common food allergy within the US.
Whilst Dr Mayne is unsure of the reasons behind the rise it could simply be down to the growing popularity of ‘international foods’ containing seasame seeds and oil.
In the US there are currently 8 food allergens regulated by the FDA – milk, tree nuts, peanuts, crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, wheat, soy – these all need to be declared on the ingredients listing on packaging.
The packaging labelling is essential for those consumers with allergens and if mislabelled could in some cases be life threatening. The FDA have reprimanded a producer, Whole Foods, for not correctly labelling food products which saw 30 products recalled over the past year. This is a reminder that it’s ultimately the food manufacturer’s responsibliity to ensure that their products are correctly labelled.
Dr Mayne stated that, “Companies should be aware of applicable FDA allergen requirements including the FALCPA (Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act) labelling requirements and requirements to prevent allergen cross-contact.”
The US Senate have passed through a new law which, if cleared by the House and signed off by President Biden, would add sesame to this list.