FARE Supports Calls for Addition of Sesame as a Major Food Allergen

As the leading advocacy organization representing the 15 million Americans with food allergies, FARE supports the addition of sesame to the list of “major food allergens” that are required to be identified on ingredient labels of processed foods. Currently, the inclusion of sesame as a stated ingredient in processed food is not explicitly regulated by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, making it difficult for those with sesame allergy to determine which products may contain this allergen. Last week, U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of products that contain sesame or sesame seeds.

FARE CEO James R. Baker, Jr., MD, stated, “With a significant documented increase in the prevalence of sesame allergy, which can be life-threatening, we are pleased to see Senator Murphy bring attention to the need and means for improving labeling to help families managing food allergies keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

A 2010 survey showed that hundreds of thousands of Americans are affected by sesame allergy, and several reports have shown that sesame allergy has increased significantly in the worldwide population over the past two decades.

FARE is currently working to increase the information and educational resources available to consumers regarding sesame allergy and supports current efforts underway by lawmakers to add sesame to the list of major allergens that are required to be labeled by the FDA. Improving education and awareness are critical first steps, but without clear information on ingredient labels, individuals and families who are managing sesame allergies do not have access to the critical information they need to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from potentially life-threatening reactions. FARE remains committed to working directly with lawmakers, government bodies and our food allergy community leaders to help improve the quality of life and health of patients with sesame allergy.