Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Advocacy: Sesame Seed Labeling September 7, 2017

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Carol M. Highsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, I teamed up with Allergy & Asthma Network, a leading non-profit, to begin a discussion about adding sesame seeds to ingredient labels.  We met with committees on Capitol Hill who were receptive to our argument.  It’s a first step in a potentially long process – but a step in the right direction!

 

Sesame: the 9th Food Allergen? explains the rise in sesame allergy and the difficulty faced by those who are allergic.  When the Director of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Robert Wood spoke to WebMD in 2012, he believed sesame seed allergy was so prevalent that it had likely climbed to the 6th or 7th most common allergen in the U.S.

 

Without required labeling, sesame seeds can be masked under many different names.  They appear in both food as well as hygiene and beauty products.  There is a relationship between tree nut allergies and sesame seed allergy – those allergic to one are three times as likely to be allergic to the other.  But unlike nut allergies, sesame oil can cause potentially severe reactions for those who are allergic.

 

Currently, only the “Top 8” allergens are required to be explicitly labeled in the United States.  Those allergens are:

Dairy

Eggs

Soy

Fish

Shellfish

Peanuts

Tree Nuts

Wheat

Many other industrialized nations already label for sesame seeds including Canada, the European Union, Australia, and Israel.

 

I will keep you posted on new developments as we continue to speak to decision-makers on this and other key allergen issues.

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It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week! May 12, 2014

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May 11-17th is Food Allergy Awareness Week!    For those of us who are Food Allergy parents, it feels like we raise awareness about food allergies everyday, doesn’t it?!  But by joining forces with parents, patients, and food allergy organizations from around the world, we can gain attention from key decision-makers and continue to educate our communities.

 

So, what can you do to raise awareness?   Here are a few examples:

  • Use this week to sign up for a Food Allergy Walk in your area.

 

 

  • Share your food allergy story with your local congressman and urge them to support laws that encourage access to emergency epinephrine, emergency medications, food labeling, etc.

 

Share what you’re doing for Food Allergy Awareness this week with me on Twitter using @shmallergy #FAAwareness.   I look forward to hearing from you!