The Food and Drug Administration issued an announcement reminding manufacturers that sesame will be joining the list of major food allergens in 2023.
Sesame will join this list as of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act.
This act was signed into law in April 2021 to expand the definition of major food allergens to specifically include sesame. Sesame will be considered the ninth most common food allergy among children and adults in the U.S. on January 1, 2023.
Multiple organizations supported the FDA’s initial push to add this food item to the list in 2020. These companies issued a letter to Stephen Hahn, commissioner for the FDA, citing that approximately 1.5 million children and adults in the U.S. may have a sesame allergy.
The companies concurred that the lack of labeling represented a public health threat.
“We strongly urge the FDA to initiate rulemaking to mandate sesame labeling without delay,” said the entities in the letter. “Specifically, we urge the FDA to grant in full the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s over six-year-old petition requesting the FDA take several actions to protect consumers from undeclared sesame in products,” they continued.
A major food allergen is currently defined as an ingredient that contains protein derived from milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.
About 0.23% of US children and adults are allergic to sesame.
The FDA advised that consumers that items on shelves before 2023 do not need to be removed from the marketplace or relabeled.