The Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2015 seeks to upgrade food labeling requirements in the United States. Included in the Act is a provision adding sesame be added to allergen labeling and add sesame to the list of major food allergens in the U.S.
Two sections of the FLMA include sesame as additions. In Section 8 of the Act, which amends the allergens which the government recognizes, would require that the Secretary of Health and Human Services add sesame to the list of regulated allergens. This addition would then compel the Secretary to implement final regulations on sesame as a food allergen within three years of the Act’s signing into law. The current allergen list hasn’t been updated since 2004.
The other section, Section 9, changes existing labeling laws to require that signs listing any major food allergens present be placed adjacent to non-packaged foods for sale at retail outlets.
HR 4061 enters Congress.
Currently, about half a million Americans suffer from sesame allergy, says FARE. That number is steadily growing. As it is, sesame is not required to be listed as an allergen on packaging and the various forms of sesame are not always clearly stated on the ingredients list for foods. Restaurants and other outlets for prepared foods may be using sesame (such as sesame oil or in spice additives) without informing consumers. Only three major food producers in the U.S. (Kraft, General Mills, and Mondelez) list sesame as an ingredient on all products it’s used within.
House Resolution 4061, known as “The Food Labeling Modernational Act of 2015” seeks to change that. Introduced on November 23, the bill is three pages long, but makes big changes to the food labeling and allergen listing requirements currently in place. The Act is currently before committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.