Allergic to Sesame Seeds? A New Food Labeling Law Is Going to Make Things Worse

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans with one or more food allergies, scan the product packaging for bold font that indicates if it contains ingredients such as shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, etc. you’re used to it. But a new US mandate to force manufacturers to list another common allergen, sesame seeds, is having a paradoxical effect: sesame seeds are found in more foods than ever before. I can see it.

According to the Associated Press, legislation that will go into effect on January 1, 2023 will require foods to list sesame as an allergen. However, because it is difficult to distinguish between sesame-containing foods such as bread and non-sesame-containing foods during cooking, manufacturers now intentionally add ingredients (in the form of seeds, flour, or oil) to foods. It is easier and cheaper to declare allergens that way than to create a new supply chain to keep products separate.

And do some foods have voluntary labels warning that they “may contain” ingredients because they are “produced in a facility” that contains known allergens? . New laws require products to indicate that an allergen is an ingredient or clearly do not contain it. fall into the gray area where

For example, Olive Garden now adds sesame flour to its breadsticks and instead of labeling them as sesame-free, they now label them as containing sesame, and the shared prep area makes it easier for consumers to There is a risk of adverse reactions. Chains such as Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A employ similar strategies. Similar effects are expected for processed products such as bread, cookies, and dressings.

As a result, consumers may continue to purchase products out of habit without realizing that the manufacturing or ingredient list has changed. Food that was previously “safe” may no longer be trusted.

Since 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated labeling of eight major food allergens: shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, fish, wheat, and soy.Sesame seeds are his ninth major allergen, affecting an estimated 1.6 million people in the US

Those suffering from a sesame reaction are wise to carefully examine food labels, check restaurant websites for information, and ask servers about foods that may contain the allergen.

[h/t Associated Press]

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