The recently implemented FASTER Act named sesame as the ninth major allergen and requires products containing sesame to be labeled as such. This change should make purchasing foods easier and safer for the more than 1.6 million Americans who are allergic to sesame. However, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE,) the passage of the act has resulted in an unanticipated negative outcome: Many baking companies are now intentionally adding sesame flour to products in order to avoid the costs associated with cleaning or using new lines to avoid cross-contact with the allergen and bake sesame-free products.
This decision means that many packaged baked goods that were previously safe for those with sesame allergies are no longer allergen-free, meaning school nutrition professionals should double-check ingredient lists of products, even if they were previously considered allergen-free. For a complete list of companies that are NOT adding sesame flour to their products, click here.
“We are disappointed and frustrated that previously trusted companies would rather add small amounts of sesame flour to their bakery products than comply with the intent of the FASTER Act, clean their lines, and safely feed members of our community,” said Jason Linde, FARE’s Senior Vice President of Government & Community Affairs, in a statement.
FARE is urging members of the American Bakers Association to rethink this decision and take the steps necessary to make products that comply with the FASTER Act’s intentions and are sesame-free. Make your voice heard by contacting Congress and informing them of this unintended outcome of the FASTER Act and the risks it poses to those with sesame allergies.
For additional information on the FASTER Act, visit the FARE website.