Sesame allergies among Americans on the rise prompting calls for warning labels

  • Sesame allergies among Americans on the rise prompting calls for warning labels

Sesame allergies among Americans on the rise prompting calls for warning labels

To conduct the research, "Study investigators administered a survey via telephone and web to more than 50,000 USA households". People with a sesame allergy are also more likely to have an additional food allergy, with peanut allergy being the most common one, according to the study. "The signs of a sesame allergy are the same as for allergic reactions to other foods", Jacqueline A. Pongracic, MD, division head of allergy/immunology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The Food Allergy Research & Education site publishes a more comprehensive list of things containing sesame.

The study found that there are more than 1.5 million children and adults in the USA that report a current sesame allergy, and more than 1.1 million that report either a physician-diagnosed sesame allergy or a history of sesame-allergic reaction symptoms. These symptoms included hives, wheezing, heart palpitations, dizziness and belly pain, among others.

It can be hard to avoid exposure to the allergen.

The study looked at ongoing regulatory rule-making by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which is now considering whether sesame should be added to the list of key food allergens for which mandatory product labeling is required.

United States federal law requires that foods containing one of the eight "major food allergens" - namely, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs, fin fish and shellfish - must declare this on the label. The implications of this study, including its role in informing precautionary sesame labeling on packaged foods in the United States, remain to be determined. However, unlike peanuts, sesame is not now recognized as a priority (top 8) allergen in the United States and is not legally required to be declared on prepackaged foods. The researchers of the new study hope the results prompt the FDA to make widespread labeling changes in the US, which they have been considering since October 2018. Last July, Illinois became the first USA state to follow suit.

Sesame seeds are on hamburger buns, bagels, and crackers, and in cereals; the oil is commonly used in Asian dishes; the paste is an ingredient of hummus.

Moving forward, the study by Warren et al provides support for consideration of listing sesame as a top allergen in the United States and including sesame in precautionary labeling.

A sesame allergy may affect more USA citizens than once thought, according to a recent study.

So what should you do if you suspect you or a loved one has a sesame allergy? "An allergist will first take a detailed history, then determine whether skin testing or blood testing should be performed to see if allergen antibody to sesame is present", she explains. This means those who are allergic to sesame are at an increased risk of accidentally ingesting it. They will also provide guidance about how to prevent future reactions and how to manage a reaction should it occur.

Food allergy affects approximately 8% of children in the United States population, with a dramatic increase during the past few decades in various regions of the Western world. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid possible exposure.

In fact, according to the researchers, products with "natural flavors" or "spices" listed on their labels may contain small amounts of sesame.