The Food and Drug Administration on Monday took a step to consider requiring sesame to be listed as an allergen on food labels.
The request for information came in response to growing concerns about the prevalence of allergies to sesame seeds, which are currently not among the major allergens that are required to be disclosed on food ingredient lists.
“Unfortunately, we’re beginning to see evidence that sesame allergies may be a growing concern in the U.S.,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.
“Fear of not knowing whether a food contains sesame may lead some people to unnecessarily limit their diets to avoid possible exposure,” he continued.
Currently, allergy labeling is only required for milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.
But the FDA could move to add sesame to that list.
“Gaining a better understanding of the state of the science on food allergies and how these allergens impact consumers, particularly sesame allergies, is an important and necessary first step toward our consideration of new policies that could require labeling for sesame allergens,” Gottlieb said.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) praised the move.
“I heard from families across Connecticut who struggled to shop for food because they were unsure if a product had sesame,” Murphy said. “A lack of clear labels poses a huge risk to individuals with sesame allergies. I applaud the FDA for taking the first step to begin considering labeling sesame products to help protect the health and safety of our constituents.”