As of January 1, 2023, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) designated sesame as a major food allergen. This means that companies are now required to declare the presence of sesame on their nutrition labels. This is no different than their current requirements for other major allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat.
Sesame is a common ingredient in many foods, including breads, crackers, hummus, tahini, and some Asian-style cuisine. In products such as dressings, marinades, and spice blends, it is a flavor enhancer.
The Effects in the Food & Beverage Industry
Update Nutrition Labels
This is significant update for companies using sesame in their products. Sesame should be included as an ingredient and allergen on all packaging. This will be a time-consuming process, as companies will need to re-label all of their products that contain sesame to ensure their nutrition label calls out the new allergen. Companies also need to ensure that their supply chain is free of cross-contamination with other allergens.
Allergen Control Procedures
In addition to updating their nutrition labels, companies will also need to improve their allergen control procedures. This is to ensure that their products are safe for individuals with a sesame allergy. This includes implementing strict cleaning protocols. Along with training employees on allergen management. And lastly, regularly testing products for the presence of allergens.
The Effects of New Allergens
Anytime the FDA declares a new allergen, it causes a ripple effect in the food manufacturing industry. The responsibility of ensuring consumers are safe is always number one, but the transition can be difficult. To pass this information to the consumer level, it is imperative for employees to be properly trained and given the education needed. This does come at a cost to these manufacturers to ensure their packaging is up to date.
However, the nutrition labels/ packaging for these products is a positive step ensuring the safety of individuals with a sesame allergy. It will also provide greater transparency for consumers, making it easier for them to identify products that contain sesame and make informed choices about what they eat.
During this change, companies may taking the opportunity to re-evaluate their current label provider. At Labels & Specialty Products, we can provide unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and accountability toward your food label needs and much more.
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