On April 23, President Biden signed a law that makes sesame the ninth major food allergen. This new ruling signifies a monumental issue being tackled by the Administration, as well as unprecedented efforts and financial backing for allergy research. The discussion around food allergens and allergen research has been a hot button issue for many years. As more information about food allergies comes to light, more resources are being allocated to research and education – a relief to the community of people that must deal with the anxiety of food allergies every single day.
Its official name, “The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (Faster) Act,” passed the Senate in March and the House of Representatives in April, receiving bipartisan support. The law will require foods containing sesame to be clearly labeled by January 2023, and forces the Department of Health and Human Services to prioritize reviews of food allergy research and treatments. Sesame will be added to the current list which includes peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, dairy, eggs and wheat. This new list will be called “the Big Nine,” indicating the nine allergies that account for about 90 percent of food allergy reactions.
To consumers who have had to navigate around these life-threatening obstacles for years, the legislation comes as somewhat a relief and step in the right direction to make the public more aware of the gaps in research and development in the realm of allergy research.
How are Food Allergens discovered?
Food allergens are discovered and researched in many ways, but according to Lisa Gable, chief executive of FARE, the “Five D’s” encapsulate the rise in food allergies overall. These points are as follows:
- Diet (delaying the introduction of foods does more harm than good)
- Dogs (having a dog in the home can reduce the likelihood of allergies in infants, as can older siblings)
- Vitamin D (a deficiency makes children much more likely to suffer from a food allergy), dry skin (sensitization to foods can occur through dry skin)
- Dirt (dirt is a good thing — babies in farming communities have lower incidences of food allergies).
Not only is noting these patterns instrumental in preventing allergic reactions and, in some instances, death, but necessary to further food and allergy knowledge and prevention.
Will more foods be added to the Allergen List?
The sesame allergy was known to the scientific community as a major allergen, long before the public was aware of its severity. Luckily, a portion of this legislation is dedicated to establishing a risk-based scientific process and framework for establishing additional allergens. In essence, there will be a more solid, reliable procedure in place for doctors and patients to understand how an allergy rises to prevalence, and what can be done about it to save lives.
Ultimately, there are likely many allergens yet to be discovered. Only through the consistent gathering of information and dedicated research will scientists be able to uncover them.
How can I prepare my Business for future Food Allergens?
For businesses, keeping up to date on the latest allergen news is vital. Regulations and legislation are constantly changing as new information comes out, and while this is a good thing for our world, it can be challenging to stay abreast of the most recent and reliable information.
This is important as restaurants and food providers prepare foods that are currently offered, but also as they begin to create new recipes and formulations. It pays to be informed about the most recent legislation and information in regard to allergens, so future business issues are prevented. Keeping up with food blogs, listening to podcasts and engaging in ongoing research are great ways to stay abreast of the latest information.
How can MenuSano help?
MenuSano nutritional software is an online nutrition calculator that provides an affordable, flexible, user-friendly solution that your business can use to calculate nutritional content of all of your current and future products. Not only that, but it was designed to be compliant to align with the standards set by Canada, U.K. and USA industry legislators and is continuously updated to maintain its compliant status.
- MenuSano uses the UK, Canadian, USDA, and PHE databases
- Ability to add dietary statements to labels such as Gluten Free, Vegan, Nut free, and many more!
- Option to add your ingredients list to labels
MenuSano is a dynamic, user-friendly service that will help your business thrive while remaining compliant with evolving industry standards. As stated, we have food allergen labelling for UK food labels, as mandated, but proactively keep up-to-date with new allergen foods as they are introduced. This is not only imperative from a safety perspective, but allows users of the software to reformulate and experiment with recipes in an effort to uplevel their businesses.
If you’re ready to see what MenuSano can do for you, click this link and get started with a 14-Day Free Trial today!