Last week President Biden signed the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2021 (FASTER Act; H.R. 1202) into law. The bill is a significant victory for food allergy advocates, because it adds sesame to the list of allergens that must be labeled on food packaging. HHS must also report certain information related to food allergy research and data collection.
Sesame is the ninth food allergen that must be labeled on food packaging. According to FARE (Food Allergy & Research Education), a non-government food allergy advocacy group, about 1.6 million Americans are allergic to sesame. “Sesame is often used when a label reads ‘natural flavors’ or ‘natural spices’, adding another layer of difficulty when consumers review product labels at their local grocery store,” according to a FARE press release about the bill. “This marks the first time since 2004 that a new allergen has been added to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).”
Packages must include the updated labeling by January 2023.