Under federal law, eight products are listed as “major food allergens” and must be included on food labels. They are milk, uova, pesce, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.
The FDA has been reviewing whether to include sesame seeds on the list for several years, but for now is only suggesting manufacturers voluntarily include it on labels where appropriate.
In light of the issued guidance, some food allergist experts have contended that a voluntary recommendation isn’t good enough.
“On behalf of the
32 million Americans who suffer from life-threatening food allergies
, e il 1.5 million Americans allergic to sesame
(Food Allergy Research
& Formazione scolastica) is disappointed in the FDA’s proposed guidance to industry
,” said Lisa Gable
, the organization’s chief executive officer
, nel una dichiarazione
“While the guidance is a step in the right direction, sesame needs to be recognized as the ninth top allergen and it must be labeled.”
The conviction that Americans
“deserve to know what is in the food they eat and buy
” is why FARE has been working to pass the FASTER
(Food Allergy Safety
, Formazione scolastica & Research
) Atto, the organization said in a post on Twitter
Intended to improve the safety of people with food allergies and expand research for new treatments, the bill, se superato, would update allergen labeling laws to include sesame.
The bill would also require the US government to analyze
“the most promising research opportunities to help scientists develop more effective treatments and
, in definitiva, a cure for food allergies
,” FARE’s website says
. The bill has been introduced in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate
The FDA guidance is “totally bogus because sesame is much more of a problem,” ha detto il dott. Robert Eitches, an allergist and immunologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “Voluntary is a door to make something not necessary to do.”
Staying safe and aware
As plant-based and vegan foods become more popular, Eitches said, the wide use of nuts and seeds is an issue that will come up more often. While sesame seeds on a hamburger bun are obvious, manipulated sesame seeds in tahini, baked goods, soups, desserts, pastes and more are harder or nearly impossible to identify.
Food manufacturers are more careful about disclosing the ingredients they include if not doing so would be grounds for lawsuits, Eitches said.
“If you remove the ability to be litigious, then there’s going to be problems,” Eitches said. Per esempio, Ha aggiunto, supermarket bakers may be less fearful about including powdered or ground sesame seeds if they are not required to and therefore not liable for any potential harms to customers.
“The way an allergen is identified by the FDA as one that must be labeled is due to the quantity of people who are allergic,” Gable said in a prior interview with CNN. “Take sesame, per esempio: What’s happened is you’ve had an increase in the number of people who are having anaphylaxis due to sesame. There are various opinions as to why that is, but one reason might be the fact that it is now more of an underlying ingredient within a lot of dietary trends.”
When people with sesame allergies are buying and eating food, they can stay safe by being “very careful” about eating certain foods and in restaurants, Eitches said.
Middle Eastern, vegan and Japanese restaurants are more likely to cook different forms of sesame seeds into their dishes, Ha aggiunto.
Sesame allergies affect people of all ages and can appear as coughing, itchy throat, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth rash, shortness of breath, wheezing and blood pressure drops, Eitches said. Those who suspect that they are sensitive or allergic to sesame should see a specialist who can answer their questions and provide medications and devices for emergency situations.
Adrenaline and epinephrine are more effective than diphenhydramine, Ha aggiunto. If an allergic reaction occurs, be prepared with any medications and devices and seek medical help.