FDA Requesting Information on Sesame Allergen

In October, FDA issued a request for information on issues related to adding sesame as an allergen. FDA is collecting comments on the prevalence of sesame allergies in the United States, the prevalence of sesame in food products, and the possible costs of any future regulatory action that FDA might take regarding sesame.

Survey on Sesame Use

ASTA and the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) will be submitting information to FDA as the agency considers adding sesame as an allergen. ASTA is partnering with FARRP to collect data on the use of sesame in the food industry.

All ASTA members are asked to complete the survey, regardless of whether they use sesame.

Please complete the survey by midnight on Tuesday, December 11th.

FARRP has noted the following requests:

  • Please restrict your responses to only include information on products produced or sold in the U.S. (unless otherwise indicated for a specific question).
  • Try to only submit one response per company (or division) so that we do not collect duplicate information. If separate divisions within a large company wish to respond individually and are willing to provide company affiliations, please indicate both the company and division when prompted in the survey.  We will only be presenting industry-wide data and will not mention specific companies.
  • Until you click the final Submit button, you may pause your survey responses and continue editing later. However, you must use the same computer and browser to continue a partially-completed survey.

Timing and Information Requested in the Survey:

The survey takes approximately 5-20 minutes to complete. Below, please find an outline of the type of information included in the survey. Gathering this information in advance may facilitate the process of completing the survey.

  1. General company information such as size, name, manufacturer type (CPG vs. ingredients), product types produced, total number of products (or SKUs) produced
  2. Sesame in products
    1. How many products/SKUs contain sesame
    2. What types of sesame ingredients are used
    3. Whether or not sesame-derived ingredients are clearly indicated as “sesame” in the ingredient statement (how many products/SKUs)
    4. What types of products contain sesame
    5. If available, what levels of sesame ingredients are present when they are not declared as sesame
  3. Sesame specifically present in flavors, spices, colors, or incidental additives
    1. How many products contain sesame as part of a flavor, spice, color or incidental additive
    2. Whether sesame is declared in the ingredient statement when present as part of a flavor, spice, etc. (how many products)
    3. What types of products contain sesame as part of a flavor, spice, etc.
    4. If available, what levels of sesame-containing ingredients are used in the product formulation
  4. Impact adding sesame to the priority allergen list may have on your company

All survey responses will be confidential and will only be presented as aggregate data.

ASTA Task Force and Comments

Additionally, ASTA plans to submit comments related to the implications of this potential regulatory action to the spice industry. We have convened a task force to develop ASTA’s comments. The comment deadline is December 31, 2018. If you are interested in participating in the task force, please contact Jessica Skerritt at [email protected].

If you have any questions or issues, please feel free to contact ASTA at [email protected].