The Grapevine

Experts Call For More Focus On Preventing Growing Sesame Allergy In US

Health experts are calling on the federal government to update regulations of product labeling to include sesame. The call comes after researchers found more than one million people already developed allergic reactions to the seeds in the U.S.

The figure appears higher than previously reported. With the current number of affected children and adults, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) ranked sesame allergy as the ninth most common allergy in the country. 

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, explored sesame allergy in all 50 states. Researchers said despite the prevalence of the condition, the country still lacks a policy requiring sesame labeling that should put it beside other top allergens, including peanuts, milk, egg and soy. 

"Our study shows sesame allergy is prevalent in the U.S. in both adults and children and can cause severe allergic reactions," Ruchi Gupta, lead study author and a professor of pediatrics and medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement

Not adding sesame allergy to product labels may also increase the risk of accidental ingestion.

"It is important to advocate for labeling sesame in packaged food,” Gupta said. “Sesame is in a lot of foods as hidden ingredients. It is very hard to avoid."

Sesame Allergy And Government Efforts

The Food and Drug Administration has started discussions to add sesame to the list of key food allergens in the market. It would require manufacturers to add the seeds to product labeling for allergy risk. 

Researchers said there are currently more than 1.5 million children and adults living with sesame allergy. For the study, the team conducted phone and online surveys with more than 50,000 households across the country. 

The team asked about history of food allergies, symptoms and clinical diagnosis. Majority of those diagnosed with sesame allergy, particularly the individuals who experienced severe allergic reactions, were unable to get clinical diagnosis prior to the study.

The study also found that the people who developed sesame allergy also had another type of food allergy. Estimates show four in five patients are also allergic to nuts, eggs and cow's milk.

sesame The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) has ranked sesame allergy as the ninth most common allergy in the U.S. Pixabay