As of Jan. 1, sesame will join a list of eight other food allergens that require special manufacturer labeling, per the Faster Act (Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research) which was signed into law in April 2021.
As of the first of the year, all packaging for foods containing sesame will be subject to FDA food allergen regulatory requirements and require labeling to mitigate risk. Food that hits shelves before 2023, however, will be grandfathered in and won't require removal, recall or relabeling, so those allergic to sesame will still want to check ingredient lists carefully for the time being.
To make matters more confusing for those with the allergy, Buzzfeed News reported on Wednesday that restaurant chains including Chick-fil-A and Olive Garden are proactively adding sesame to certain foods in order to avoid compliance with the bill. A spokesperson for FARE, a nonprofit working to increase food allergy awareness, told Buzzfeed that "by adding sesame to products that didn't previously contain it, companies may be able to skirt manufacturing processes that would ensure production facilities are clean enough to avoid cross-contact with the allergen."
The eight other most common food allergens that are already on the FDA regulatory list are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.
In addition to a statement on its website, the FDA released this video explaining the Faster Act in greater detail.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.