According to a draft guidance published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on November 10, 2020, food manufacturers are encouraged to provide a clear declaration of any Sesame ingredients on the product’s food labeling. The FDA’s draft guidance does not make the Sesame ingredient warning mandatory; however, the guidance allows manufacturers the time to make labeling changes before the guidance becomes a requirement.
According to Dr. Susan Mayne, the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition director stated that several Americans are either sensitive or allergic to sesame, and those individuals should have the ability to identify products that might contain sesame quickly. Currently, some food products that contain sesame will list sesame as an ingredient. However, listing sesame as an ingredient is not a requirement, and most food products use words such as “flavor” or “spice” to cover non-disclosed flavorings and ingredients.
Another grave concern is other ingredients such as “tahini,” which crush sesame into a paste. This is a problem because most people are not aware that “tahini” is made from sesame. In these cases, sesame is not usually listed as an ingredient on a product’s ingredients label. Right now, the FDA is only asking food manufacturers to voluntarily add sesame as a food ingredient when a product contains or has been made with sesame.
Back on October 30, 2018, the FDA published a notice requesting data and information on the existence and severity of sesame allergies in the United States. The study also looked at the prevalence of sesame-containing foods that are not required to disclose sesame as an ingredient here in the United States. The total number of incidences of sesame allergies is not known, but some estimates assert that about 0.1%, of the population has an allergy to sesame. This equates to the number of those who are allergic to fish or soy. The FDA found that allergic reactions to sesame include hives, wheezing, vomiting, and anaphylaxis.
The existing Federal law list eight “major food allergens” that require food label warnings. These foods are eggs, milk, shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, and wheat. Federal law also requires these food products to be labeled using the food item’s usual or common name on the food product’s label. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) imposes stringent specifications that foods containing any one of those eight major allergens must be “clearly marked” on the product label. If a food product does not properly label one of the eight major food allergens contained in their product, the FDA will quickly initiate a recall of that food product. Currently, sesame is not deemed one of the eight major allergens; the FDA is encouraging food manufacturers to provide a warning label on any products containing sesame voluntarily.
If you or someone you love has been injured or harmed by a food product with an undisclosed major food allergen as required by law, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation. Do not delay in calling Parker Waichman LLP to receive your free case evaluation and consultation. Our products liability law firm has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients. For a free review of your claim, contact our firm today for a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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