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.

 

FDA Petition: Help Warn FA Families of Ingredient Changes February 8, 2011

The FDA is considering a petition which would require food companies to display the advisory statement “Ingredient Information Has Changed” on the front of packaging when one or more of the 8 major food allergens has been added to their product (allergens which has not previously been included).
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This petition is open for the general public and it is encouraged that everyone leave comments as this has an impact on the FDA’s decision.   Go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter the docket number (FDA-2010-P-0578-0001) in the Enter Keyword or ID: search field.   You may also go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=10;so=DESC;sb=postedDate;po=0;s=FDA-2010-P-0578-0001 and scroll to the bottom of the page to view the full  petition and make a comment. If you have any questions contact Dwayne Ratleff at dratleff@yahoo.com.
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Note:  It is not recommended that this potential regulation substitute for the continued need to check all food labels.  Food allergic families will always need to keep checking ingredient lists and manufacturing lines to ensure the safety of their FA family members.  This would just add another layer of defense against an inadvertent reaction.
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Please pass this information on to other food allergic families.   Thank you!