U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut are calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to mandate labeling of products that contain sesame or sesame seeds.
In a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the senators stated that sesame is a common allergen and should be added to eight major allergens – milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy – identified on food product labels. The senators cited Robert Wood, the director of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who determined that sesame allergies “have probably increased more than any other type of food allergy over the past 10 to 20 years.”
In their letter, the senators called on Gottlieb to use the FDA’s authority under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act to require allergen identification on foods containing sesame seeds and sesame products. “Accurate, uniform, and comprehensive allergen labeling is essential to enable allergy sufferers to avoid specific ingredients and potentially fatal reactions,” wrote the senators. “Given the danger and growing prevalence of sesame allergies, as well as new scientific recommendations, we ask the FDA to move quickly to require sesame labeling to help protect the health and safety of our constituents.”
The senators were joined in their appeal by Sens Ed Markey (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jack Reed (D-RI).