DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Starting on New Year’s Day, families across the country will notice sesame will be added to manufacturers labels after being named a major food allergen in 2021 under the FASTER Act.

Right now, sesame can appear in undeclared ingredients such as flavors and spice blends, leaving many families in the dark.

“I’m excited because we’re going to know if sesame is in it or not,” said 8-year-old Drew Luedecking.

When Drew was just 8 months old, his mother Amanda says he experienced a dangerous allergic reaction to sesame in hummus. 

“In 20 or 30 minutes, he started breaking out in a horrible rash, swelling all over his body, itching all over pulling out his hair and facial swelling,” said Amanda Luedecking.

Amanda says they spent all night watching Drew, bewildered at what caused the reaction. Now, the FASTER Act takes a weight off their shoulders.

The act requires sesame to be added onto the list of major food allergens and food companies are required to clearly label it in the ingredients. However, the Food Allergy Research and Education claims food companies are abusing the law and says companies may be able to overlook cleaning procedures due to the legal protection the label supplies.

“We are disappointed and frustrated that previously trusted companies would rather add small amounts of sesame flour to their bakery products than comply with the intent of the FASTER Act, clean their lines and safely feed members of our community.” Jason Linde, Senior Vice President, Government & Community Affairs, FARE, said.

“They’re adding sesame so they can put sesame in there so they don’t have to clean their lines which completely ignores the purpose of the law,” said Amanda Luedecking.

The Luedecking family says they’ve been in the dark for eight years but now they’re hopeful their son Drew will feel safe eating once again.

“To everyone out there, keep feeling good about this and don’t worry, it’s going to get better,” said Drew Luedecking.

Currently, sesame may appear under other names such as benne, benne seed, benniseed, gingelly, gingelly oil, seeds, sesamol, semolina, sesamum indicum and sim sim. 

Possible Sources of sesame:

  • Sesame seed
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame salt
  • Tahini/hummus
  • Baked goods (hamburger buns, breads and bagels)
  • Sweet baked goods (cookies)
  • Bread crumbs, breadsticks, cereals, crackers
  • Dips
  • Dressings, gravies, marinades, salads, sauces and soups
  • Falafel
  • Flavored rice, noodles
  • Granola and muesli
  • Halvah
  • Herbs, seasoning, spices
  • Margarine
  • Processed meats, sausages 
  • Risotto
  • Shish, kebabs, stews, stir fries
  • Snack foods: chips, pretzels, rice cakes, candy
  • Tempeh
  • Vegetarian burgers
  • Vegetable oil (may contain sesame oil)

Non-food sources:

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Cosmetics, hair care products, perfumes, soaps and sunscreens
  • Medications
  • Fungicides
  • Insecticides 
  • Lubricants, ointments, topical oils
  • Pet food
  • Sesame meal in poultry and livestock feed