Sesame Moves Closer to Becoming an FDA-Recognized Allergen

Dec. 9, 2020
The Senate passed its version of the FASTER Act, which still must be reconciled with an earlier House version.

Sesame moved one step closer to becoming an FDA-recognized allergen today (Dec. 9) when the Senate passed its version of the FASTER Act (S.3451), an acronym for Food Allergy Safety, Treatment and Research Act.

Because the Senate version is slightly different from the House version passed earlier this fall, the act will have to go back to the House for a vote before being sent to the White House to be officially signed into law.

"Over one million people in the U.S. have an allergy to sesame. It’s also a major allergy for people across the globe and is already listed as a top allergen in some countries," said the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). "Sesame can be a hidden ingredient often listed as a ‘spice,’ ‘natural flavoring,’ or under different names like ‘tahini’ or ‘benne’. This puts people with a sesame allergy at greater risk for reactions which can be life-threatening.”

The FDA in November asked for comments on a voluntary rule for sesame labeling. If the FASTER Act is signed into law, sesame will join the "Big Eight" allergens list (eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, cow's milk, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat), which was created in 2004.

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