June 13, 2021

FASTER Act For Sesame Labeling as Food Allergen Passes U.S. House

The FASTER Act for sesame labeling and food allergy research has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill, called the Food Allergen Safety, Treatment, education, and Research Act (S. 578),  passed the U.S. Senate on March 3, 2021, and it now goes from Congress to President Biden for his signature. This bill has been long advocated for by food allergy and food safety advocates.

FASTER Act For Sesame Labeling as Food Allergen Passes U.S. House

Now, sesame products must be labeled as allergens on all processed and packaged foods, which will help the 1,600,000 Americans who are allergic to this ingredient. Lisa Gable, chief executive officer of Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), said in a statement, “There is nothing more important to the food allergy community than ensuring that the FASTER Act is put into law. On behalf of the nearly 1.6 million Americans who are allergic to sesame, I thank Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA-6) and Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) for championing this critical piece of bipartisan legislation and now look forward to President Biden signing it into law.”

Sesame will become the ninth food allergen that must be labeled on packaged foods, joining soy, wheat, milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, finfish, and shellfish. The FDA requires what is called “plain language labeling,” for these nine allergens, which means they must be clearly named and not hidden by using phrases such as “natural flavors” or “natural spices.” This is the first time since 2006 that a new allergen has been added to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).

The FASTER Act also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a report on scientific opportunities in food allergy research that will look at prevention, treatment, and new cures for this specific allergen. And the ACT establishes a framework for establishing more allergens covered by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

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