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A Ninth Major Food Allergen Recognized by the US Government Changes in Labeling Requirements Will Sa

Food allergies, which commonly develop in childhood, can occur at any age and can be life-threatening. The US government currently recognizes eight foods as “major allergens” including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

Since 2004, manufacturers have been required to indicate on labels when a food product contains any of these eight ingredients. This advance was life-changing and life-saving for many allergy sufferers, who no longer had to worry that any prepackaged food they ate could potentially lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction.

These allergens were thought to account for up to 90 percent of serious food allergies. New studies, however, have implicated sesame as a much more frequent cause of allergic reactions than previously known, perhaps on par with the frequency of tree nut allergies. It is notoriously difficult to currently identify foods containing sesame since it can be listed generically on labels as part of “spices” or “natural flavors.”

The FASTER Act

With the passing of the FASTER Act by congress, sesame is now considered the ninth major food allergen, and starting in 2023, packaged foods containing any sesame derivative will have to indicate this on their labels. This is a massive win for allergy sufferers and should alleviate stress for hundreds of thousands of individuals with a known sesame allergy.

If you currently suffer from or are concerned about possibly having a food allergy, our allergy services can help. We offer comprehensive testing, education, and desensitizing treatments. Contact us today!