Sesame Allergies Now One of the Most Common

I’m glad to know that I’m not going crazy; well, not in one sense at least.  It had seemed to me that we’ve fielded many more sesame questions over the last couple of years and it seemed that sesame was an allergen that was present with 1 or more other food allergens, such as peanut or dairy.  My hunch has now been proven right.

At John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Robert Wood has indicated that their evidence shows that sesame allergies have grown the most of any food allergy in the last 2 decades and is now in the top 6-7 food allergens.  This statistic, gleaned from patient files over 3 years, was presented at the recent American Academy of Asthma and Immunology annual meeting.  You can read more about this article at:  http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=98576 

Sesame is already listed in Canada as one of the top 10 food allergens and in the UK and Europe as one of the top 12 but the FDA is reviewing whether sesame should be declared in the US (it’s currently not in their top 8).   In my limited experience, I’ve found that many US parents of sesame allergic children aren’t aware of where sesame might be lurking beyond the obvious crackers and hamburger buns simply because manufacturers aren’t declaring it.  As the use of sesame becomes more common due, in part, to the growing ethnic food availability, it will be very difficult to avoid, particularly when used as a whole as opposed to paste.  Sesame testing for such tiny particulate matter can literally be hit and miss.

If these numbers are accurate, it would appear that sesame should be added to US declarations sooner rather than later.