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Sesame Allergy

What Is Sesame Allergy?

Sesame is the ninth most common food allergy among children and adults in the U.S. The edible seeds of the sesame plant are a common ingredient in cuisines around the world, from baked goods to sushi. Several reports suggest this allergy has increased significantly worldwide over the past two decades.

When a person with an allergy to sesame is exposed to sesame, proteins in the sesame bind to IgE antibodies made by the person’s immune system. This triggers the person’s immune defenses, leading to reaction symptoms that can be mild or very severe.

Current U.S. federal law does not require sesame to be declared by food manufacturers. FARE supports adding sesame to the list of major food allergens that must be named in plain language on the ingredient labels of processed foods, and is advocating for legislation to accomplish this.

A 2010 survey showed that hundreds of thousands of Americans are affected by sesame allergy.

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Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, Blumenstock JA, Jiang J, Davis MM, Nadeau KC. The Public Health Impact of Parent-Reported Childhood Food Allergies in the United States. Pediatrics 2018; 142(6):e20181235

Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, Jiang J, Blumenstock JA, Davis MM, Schleimer RP, Nadeau KC. Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults. JAMA Network Open 2019; 2(1):e185630.doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5630.

Warren CM, Chadha AS, Sicherer SH, Jiang J, Gupta RS. Prevalence and Severity of Sesame Allergy in the United States. JAMA Network Open 2019; 2(8):e199144. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.9144.

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