The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently recognizes eight foods as causing the most food allergy reactions. They are milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanut and tree nut. But for years, sesame has sought a place on the list. It is now considered the ninth top food allergen.
Recently, the FDA has been asking for more data to support adding sesame to the list of top food allergens. A new study titled “Prevalence and Severity of Sesame Allergy in the United States” has been released by the JAMA Network today in response to the FDA’s request.
This study from Dr. Ruchi Gupta and her colleagues gives insight into the large number of people with sesame allergy. The findings show that 0.23% of people in the U.S. say they have a sesame allergy. In fact, the study found that sesame allergy may even be more common than some tree nut allergies such as pine nut and macadamia nut allergies. Reactions to sesame tend to be severe, often causing anaphylaxis.
The report also points out that sesame is considered a top allergen in many other countries. Sesame allergy prevalence is already recognized outside of the U.S. It’s time for the U.S. to add it the top allergen list and require proper labeling.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) have been leading efforts to convince the FDA to require labeling for sesame. We’ve shared your stories with the FDA about sesame reactions and labeling concerns. And the week of Aug. 5, 2019, we will meet with them again to talk about this critical issue. We will continue to advocate for sesame labeling on your behalf.