Fabiola Negron

Director of Food Safety

Sesame Declared a Major Food Allergen

Mar 1, 2023

Food manufacturers are now required to list sesame as a major food allergen on their food labels. The new regulation was set forth by the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2021 (FASTER), a bill Congress enacted in April 2021.

The bill states that sesame-containing foods introduced into interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2023 must must include “sesame” in their allergens declaration. This change updates the existing Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA).

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The Nine Major Allergens

With the addition of sesame, FALCPA now applies to nine food groups that were chosen because they account for over 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

The nine major allergens are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean shellfish
  • Tree nuts (including coconut)
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Sesame

Sesame Allergen Labeling Guidance

Sesame allergies and sensitivities are on the rise in America. While most products that contain sesame do list it on their allergen statement, sesame does not currently have to be listed when it is used as a spice or flavor. This puts many Americans at risk of adverse reactions without the knowledge of sesame being present.

Although the FASTER Act did not take effect until January 2023, FDA previously urged manufactures to begin the voluntary practice of including sesame in ingredient lists on food labels ahead of the regulatory shift.

FDA released a draft guidance in November 2020 to help manufactures incorporate this practice. In the guidance, FDA reports that “of the reports [they] received, 44% of adverse reactions to sesame were described as severe and nearly 50% resulted in physician or hospital visits”.

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Fabiola Negron

Director of Food Safety

Widely respected in the Food Safety industry, Fabiola provides insightful education to food and beverage companies worldwide on U.S. FDA regulations resulting from the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011. Her expertise in creating and reviewing Food Safety plans, helping U.S. importers comply with Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) regulations, and leading our Food Safety team have helped hundreds of companies comply with FDA food and beverage requirements.

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