The Food and Drug Administration said that starting Jan. 1, sesame will join the list of major food allergens. That means many foods that include sesame may add labeling noting the potential presence of sesame.
Sesame will be among nine major food allergens listed by the FDA. The others are milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
The FDA noted that foods packaged prior to the start of 2023 will not be required to contain the warning label.
While the exact number of Americans with sesame allergies is unknown, it is believed to be around .1 percent of the population, the FDA said. Allergic reactions can include hives, vomiting, wheezing and anaphylaxis.
“Many Americans are allergic or sensitive to sesame, and they need the ability to quickly identify products that might contain sesame,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “While most products containing sesame declare it as an ingredient, there are times when sesame is not required to be declared by name on the label, such as when it is used as a ‘flavor’ or ‘spice.’ Other ingredients, like ‘tahini,’ are made by grinding sesame into a paste, but not all consumers are aware that tahini is made from sesame."