The Food and Drug Administration wants to shine a light on sesame, a common food allergen that’s apparently not mentioned enough on food labels.
In draft guidance issued Tuesday, the FDA recommends manufacturers voluntarily list sesame as a flavoring ingredient on food labels to help Americans who are allergic or sensitive to the seed to avoid these products.
Current FDA regulations say sesame must be put on the label if the whole seed is used but not if it’s used as a flavor or in a spice blend, but the agency is encouraging that to change.
It is now recommending the declaration of sesame on food labels if it is used to spice or flavor the product as well as if the common name of the food does not indicate the presence of sesame, such as hummus or tahini.
The guidance comes after data received by the FDA indicated an apparent increase in the prevalence of sesame allergies in the U.S. The agency notes sesame causes a relatively high frequency of severe allergic reactions, including hives, vomiting, wheezing and anaphylaxis.