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New law requires sesame allergy label

With the new year comes new laws, including one that may be important to your health and wellness.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires the major food allergens to be listed, in plain English, on food labels. The top food allergens include:

  • peanut
  • tree nuts
  • soy
  • wheat
  • egg
  • cow’s milk
  • fish
  • shellfish

Thanks to the FASTER Act, sesame now joins the list of major food allergens.

How common is sesame allergy?

Sesame allergy is often called the ninth food allergen. It is estimated to be as common as soy and fish allergies, and some tree nut allergies.

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have sesame allergy, according to the National Institutes of Health. It’s common among U.S. children with other food allergies, occurring in 17% of this group. Severe allergic reactions to sesame are common among children. An estimated 20-30% of children will outgrow their sesame allergy.

Sesame allergy is growing at a faster rate in the United States than other food allergy. Many believe this is due to the increased prevalence of international cuisine on American plates.

Sesame allergy has increased over the years in part due to the growing number of products containing sesame seeds and sesame oil. These include:

  • foods
  • cosmetics
  • lotions
  • pharmaceutical items

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently found that 25% of severe allergic reactions to sesame were from products that did not list sesame. Almost half of the people who suffered severe allergic reactions required medical attention.

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