FDA declares sesame the 9th major food allergen.
The FDA has added sesame as the first new allergen required to be labeled since the original 8 major allergens were introduced in 2004. Under the FASTER Act of 2021, sesame is the 9th major food allergen required to be labeled effective January 1, 2023. This means food manufacturers will need to have sesame listed as a major food allergen on their packaging by this compliance date. In the meantime, the FDA has encouraged manufacturers to voluntarily list sesame as an allergen on food packaging now. If we have worked on ingredients and allergens for you recently we have already done this for you. We began doing this when FDA issued draft guidance in November of 2020 to encourage manufacturers to voluntarily declare sesame in the ingredient list when it is used as a “flavoring” or “spice” or when the common or usual name (such as tahini) does not specify sesame. Please reach out to us if you have any concerns or need updates on your food allergen labeling. We would love to help you update existing labels as needed.
While most people know what sesame seeds are, and can recognize them in or on foods, there are some ways that sesame may be “hidden” within the ingredient statement. One example is tahini, which is a ground sesame seed paste. Another way would be if sesame is used within a natural flavoring or simply listed as a “spice”. If there is any doubt about whether or not your ingredients may contain sesame (or any of the major allergens for that matter) we would highly recommend that you request updated allergen statements from your ingredient suppliers and let us know if you need assistance. We can also help you with food allergen testing of your products.
For more details, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a new video that provides an overview of the 2021 Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act.