Sesame Joins the FDA’s Big Nine Allergens

September 28, 2021

On April 23, 2021, President Biden signed into law S.578, the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act of 2021. The FASTER Act adds sesame to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s major food allergens list, creating the Big Nine and joining milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

Sesame is often under natural flavors or natural spices, hiding its presence and making it difficult for consumers to identify when products contain sesame. It’s estimated that 1.5 million children and adults in the U.S. are allergic to sesame, and even a small amount, such as one or two seeds, can cause a reaction.

The FASTER Act requires that sesame be included as an allergen on packaged foods with plain-language labeling. It’s the first time since 2004 that a new allergen has been added to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).

The new regulations bring the U.S. into closer alignment with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union who already label sesame on their food packaging. The food industry will have until January 1, 2023, to comply.

The FASTER Act also helps to expand food allergy research, focusing on prevention, treatment, and cures for all allergens. It will benefit the 85 million Americans who are affected by food allergies and intolerances, including 32 million who have a potentially life-threatening condition according to Food Allergen Research and Education (FARE), the largest private funder of food allergy research.

As the food industry prepares to comply with the FDA’s coming sesame requirements, our trusted solutions can make expanding allergen control plans easy. Explore our validated quantitative and qualitive sesame testing to make the transition simple and be ready for the implementation of the FASTER Act.

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Category: Food Safety