Update: The president has signed the FASTER ACT!On April 23, 2021, President Biden signed the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2021, also called the FASTER Act (H.R.1202/S.578), into law. This bill expands the definition of major allergens to include sesame and requires analysis of food allergy research.
On Dec. 9, 2020, the Senate passed the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2020, also called the FASTER Act (S. 3451). This vote moves us one step closer to seeing sesame included as a top food allergen. This act would also fund allergy research and more resources for people living with food allergies.
More than 1 million people in the U.S are allergic to sesame. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has been advocating for sesame labeling for several years. Under AAFA’s leadership, several advocacy groups have joined forces to encourage lawmakers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act.
“We’re glad to see the Senate take this step,” said Kenneth Mendez, CEO and president of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. “Getting sesame disclosed on food ingredient labels is a front and center issue for AAFA. Sesame can be a hidden ingredient often listed as a ‘spice,’ ‘natural flavoring,’ or under different names like ‘tahini’ or ‘benne.’ This puts people with a sesame allergy at greater risk for reactions, which can be life-threatening. We want sesame to be clearly listed on all food ingredient labels. The Senate just helped us get even closer to finally making this a reality.”
Before the FASTER Act can be signed by the president, the House must vote on it one more time. The Senate version of the FASTER Act is slightly different than the version the House passed on Nov. 17, 2020. But it still includes sesame as a top food allergen.
If the House passes the Senate version of the FASTER Act, it will go to the White House to be officially signed into law.
Watch for updates in the coming weeks as our food allergy advocates in Congress work to get this bill passed.
Kids With Food Allergies is a division of AAFA.