New sesame labeling law in the US
A ‘monumental’ new food allergy law will now require that sesame – to which nearly 1.6 million Americans are allergic – be labeled on all packaged foods in the US beginning January 1, 2023 and that food allergy research be given greater priority by the federal government. Passage of the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act of 2021 has been the highest legislative priority for FARE, the world’s leading non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy and the largest private funder of food allergy research. Because of its broader focus on food allergy research, the new law will benefit the 85 million Americans who are affected by food allergies and intolerances, including 32 million who have a potentially life-threatening condition.
The FASTER Act would require that sesame be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods. Sesame would become the ninth food allergen for which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires plain-language labeling. Sesame is often used when a label reads “natural flavors” or “natural spices,” adding another layer of difficulty when consumers review product labels at their local grocery store. This marks the first time since 2004 that a new allergen has been added to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).
The FASTER Act would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a report on scientific opportunities in food allergy research that examines prevention, treatment and new cures. In addition, the legislation establishes a risk-based scientific process and framework for establishing additional allergens covered by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.