More People Allergic to Sesame Seeds than One Would Expect

32 million Americans have food allergies and new research finds more than a million of them are allergic to a seed that may not be on many people’s radar: sesame.

The allergy is more common than previously thought, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.

Allergist Dr. Alissa Hersh says she’s seeing an increasing number of patients, “Patients with sesame seed allergy are at risk for anaphylaxis.” Dr. Hersh says “It is severe, we recommend all patients with true clinical history of a food allergic reaction to sesame seed should carry epinephrine at all times.”

Often a hidden ingredient, sesame seeds, oils and pastes can be found in everything from bagels to hummus and condiments.

But only the top 8 allergens (including milk, eggs and peanuts) are required on food labels. Right now, the law does not mandate sesame. Dr. Hersh: “I think from what we see from the more recent studies, that it is long overdue. It would just help so much to help control the situation if you had better labeling.”

It’s estimated about 20 to 30% of children will outgrow a sesame allergy over time.

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