5 Takeaways From the New Food Allergy Law

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It may be a while before you see the effects of the FASTER Act. The law gives manufacturers 20 months to make sure any products they’re making that include sesame reflect that on packaging.

Starting on January 1, 2023, if food contains sesame, you should see it indicated on the label.

In the meantime, if you or someone in your family is allergic, look for ingredients that could be sesame-based, like tahini, sesamol and gomasio, according to Food Allergy Research & Education, a nonprofit organization in McLean, Va. And continue to keep an eye out for “spices” and “natural flavors,” which could include sesame.

It also helps to be aware of the types of foods that tend to include sesame, like falafel, hummus and certain rices. And sesame oil is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. But keep in mind that sesame can also be found in chips, cereals, snack bars and a variety of other foods.

The good news is that some companies, such as General Mills and Hershey’s, already include sesame on labels when it’s used as an ingredient.

The new law brings a sense of reassurance to people dealing with a sesame allergy. In the United States, that’s about 1.1 million children and adults, according to a 2019 study published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The study found that less than one quarter of 1 percent of children and adults were estimated to have sesame allergy.

Still, Lauren E. Krigbaum is among the parents who is breathing a sigh of relief. Ms. Krigbaum’s 2-year-old daughter has five different food allergies, including sesame. But until now, sesame had been the only one of her daughter’s allergies that wasn’t part of the federal labeling law.

“When you have a child with food allergies, your life kind of centers around food,” said Ms. Krigbaum, a financial aid counselor in Boise, Idaho. “So being able to take a stress out of that is going to be huge.”