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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a notice to encourage food manufacturers to declare sesame as an ingredient on food labels. While the FDA requires the eight major allergens, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans, to be noted, the FDA is asking manufacturers to include sesame voluntarily.

Source: Living Teal Channel/Youtube

1.5 million people in the United States are allergic to sesame. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, chief medical correspondent for ABC News, called the FDA’s request  a “call to awareness.” “(The FDA does not) have the legal power to require food manufacturers to label packages if they contain sesame, but they can urge increased awareness and potentially have that happen down the road,” Ashton told the outlet.

“Many Americans are allergic or sensitive to sesame, and they need the ability to quickly identify products that might contain sesame,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “While most products containing sesame declare it as an ingredient, there are times when sesame is not required to be declared by name on the label, such as when it is used as a ‘flavor’ or ‘spice.’ Other ingredients, like ‘tahini,’ are made by grinding sesame into a paste, but not all consumers are aware that tahini is made from sesame. In these instances, sesame may not be declared by name in the ingredient list on a product’s label. We are encouraging food manufacturers to voluntarily list sesame as an ingredient whenever a product has been made with sesame.”

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