A new United States law recognizing sesame as the ninth major food allergen is having unintended consequences. Some food manufacturers and commercial bakeries that support restaurants, stock grocery shelves and supply schools are intentionally adding sesame to various products that previously did not contain it. Consequently, this decreases the number of sesame-free products available for allergic consumers and creates the risk of accidental exposure through foods they previously considered safe.
Food industry experts said the requirements are so stringent that many manufacturers, especially bakers, find it simpler and less expensive to add sesame to a product—and to label it—than to try to keep it away from other foods or equipment with sesame. The US FDA stated that practice is not violative but would make it more difficult for sesame allergic consumers to find foods that are safe for them to consume. Therefore, it is a result the FDA does not support. Consumer advocates are expressing concerns to the FDA and requesting action.