Unclear Labeling Tied to Sesame Food Allergy
Less than half of packaged food products tied to clinical reactions did not declare sesame on the label
TUESDAY, Dec. 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There is considerable sesame food allergy morbidity as a result of inconsistent allergen labeling, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Kim Nguyen, M.D., from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed allergic reactions associated with accidental oral exposure to sesame. The analysis included a review of 360 clinical reactions in 327 individuals.
The researchers found that anaphylaxis occurred in 68.9 percent of reactions, with hospitalization occurring in 47.8 percent of events and epinephrine administered in 36.4 percent of cases. A packaged food product was involved in two-thirds of events (67.5 percent), with only 43.8 percent of these products using the term "sesame" on their labeling. In 46.0 percent of products that did not include "sesame" on labeling, an alternate name was noted, most often "tahini."
"Sesame is the ninth most common childhood food allergy in the United States, yet many people don't recognize it on food labels, or it's missing entirely," a coauthor said in a statement. "What we discovered in our study was that amongst those who reported events related to accidental ingestion of sesame, many reported they didn't know that words such as 'tahini' meant sesame. Because the word 'sesame' is often not used on labels, accidents happen at a greater rate."