Food Packaging Allergen List May Grow To Include Sesame

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Food Packaging Allergen List May Grow To Include Sesame

Food Packaging Allergen List May Grow To Include Sesame

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that researchers investigate the regularity of sesame allergy throughout the country; now the FDA is considering regulatory action to make certain sesame is included on food packaging as an allergen.

 
Reports say that about 8% of children and 10% of adults in the U.S. suffer from food allergies.  Following a survey and subsequent study authored by Ruchi Gupta of the Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, it now appears that sesame allergy is rather common, affecting an estimated 0.23% of children and adults and characterized by a history of credible IgE-mediated symptoms. 
 
At the present time there are eight common allergenic foods mandated to be labeled as allergens by the FDA including egg, fish, milk, peanut, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.  Sesame is a growing concern as food allergies continue to escalate across the U.S., and has been regulated in several countries already.  The FDA decided to leave sesame off the list of allergens when it was believed that 90% of food allergies could be attributed to the list of eight allergens.  Now, the agency is re-thinking its decision and has issued a request for epidemiological data on "the prevalence and severity of sesame allergies in the U.S. to inform possible regulatory action that would require sesame to be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods."
 
Researchers surveyed over 38,000 children and more than 40,000 adults over a period of time from October 2015 through September of 2016, representing more than 51,800 households in the U.S., and the data analyzed between January of 2017 and May 2019.  About 0.49% reported current allergies to sesame as reported in JAMA Network Open, a number that according to authors equates to over 1.5 million adults and children.
 
Although the U.S. apparently has similar sesame allergen rates to countries including Australia, Canada, Europe, and New Zealand who do require sesame is clearly labeled on food packaging as an ingredient, it is not yet required in the U.S.  Perhaps it will be in the near future.
 
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