In April 2021, President Biden signed the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education & Research (FASTER) Act into law, which, among other allergen-focused provisions, established sesame as the ninth major U.S. food allergen.
The FASTER Act (Public Law 117-11) was signed into law as:
In addition to designating sesame as an allergen, the FASTER Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to collect data on allergens and recommend improvements for the prevention of allergen-related illnesses and death. This could possibly include establishing more ingredients as major food allergens in the future.
The FASTER Act was introduced by Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-Calif.) in 2019 and advanced to committee where Talia Day gave testimony on her son’s life-threatening allergy to sesame. Soon after, advocates gathered at the U.S. Capitol to meet with congressional leaders. (During the pandemic, lawmakers and volunteers met virtually.)
The FASTER Act passed the Senate in late 2020, but didn’t make it to the House in time. When the bill was re-introduced in 2021, it passed both chambers easily and was signed by Pres. Biden on April 23, 2021.
All foods entering interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2023, that contain sesame allergens must bear a sesame allergen declaration. Entering interstate commerce typically means a food that is packaged and labeled for sale.
Manufacturers can begin declaring sesame as an allergen now in preparation for the sesame allergen compliance date.
To comply with FALCPA requirements, food packages must display allergens using their common name, and there are a couple of options for doing so:
– OR –
Genesis R&D Foods includes features for allergen tracking and label declaration. Marking appropriate allergens on an Ingredient record will ensure that those allergens are declared in the Recipe. Any associated allergens will appear in the Allergen “contains” statement on the View Label page and in other reports.
It’s important to note that, for food-safety purposes, Genesis R&D Foods initially assumes that all Ingredients contain all allergens, so each Ingredient must be addressed individually. You also have the option of editing your allergens and allergen statement at the Recipe level. This blog goes over the specifics of working with allergens in Genesis R&D Foods.
Sesame/Sesame Seeds has always been included as an allergen for complying with labeling regulations in Canada and the European Union. Genesis R&D Foods now includes the Sesame/Sesame Seeds allergen for the United States Labeling module.
If you have associated Sesame/Sesame Seeds with any Ingredient, those Ingredients will correctly reflect the U.S. Sesame allergen and it will appear on your U.S. View Label page in the allergen “contains” statement.
Contact ESHA Support if:
- You do not see Sesame/Sesame Seeds as an allergen for your U.S. label. You may need to install the latest version of Genesis R&D Foods.
- You previously created a user-added Allergen called “Sesame” in Genesis R&D and would like us to help you merge that allergen with the U.S. Label Sesame/Sesame Seeds allergen.
For more detailed information about declaring Sesame on your U.S. Nutrition Facts Label, check out this webinar: How to Comply with the FASTER Act with Genesis R&D Foods.
We recommend you start reviewing all of your Ingredients and Recipes now. You can search for Recipes that contain specific Ingredients using the “Within Item Search.” But, be careful. Sesame can be “hidden” under a different name. For a list of possible sources of sesame or hidden names for sesame, see this cheat sheet.
You should also consider requesting updated spec sheets from all ingredient suppliers and aske them to identify all sources of sesame (including spices and flavorings).
Additionally, it’s best practice to test final products for the presence of sesame at a certified laboratory, and establish allergen control programs if sesame is present at your manufacturing facility.