Congress Makes Sesame Ninth Major Food Allergen
On April 14, 2021, the House of Representatives passed H.R.1202 or the “Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2021” (FASTER Act), which expands the definition of major food allergen for purposes of certain food-labeling requirements to specifically include sesame.
The FASTER Act declares sesame as the 9th major food allergen recognized by law in the United States, which means that food manufacturers will have to list sesame as an allergen on food labels. Additionally, the bill would also require that the Secretary of Health and Human Services collect data on the prevalence of food allergies and prepare a report to Congress that outlines descriptions of ongoing federal activities related to the development of effective food allergy diagnostics, the prevention of food allergies, and the scientific criteria for defining a food or food ingredient as a “major food allergen,” among other requirements.
The bill has already cleared the Senate; it will be now be sent to the White House for the president to sign into law. This is the first time that a new allergen has been added to the list of major food allergens (i.e., milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy). This change will apply to any food that is introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2023.