On April 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill entitled the "Food Allergen Safety Treatment and Research Act” (FASTER), which will designate sesame as a major food allergen. The act also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a report to Congress in 18 months with the status of federal activities that monitor and conduct scientific research on food allergies. This will also recommend a framework that might allow for the establishment of additional major food allergens.
The Senate passed the bill in March 2021, and it's now headed to President Biden's desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.
Under the new rule, sesame will be declared a major allergen under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. If a food or ingredient contains a major food allergen, it is required to list it in its ingredient declaration. Sesame had been formerly considered a spice and was not therefore required to be labeled by name in the ingredient declaration, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published guidance suggesting that firms do so. Once the FASTER Act is signed into law, any food with sesame that is sold to consumers on or after January 1, 2023 must be labeled accordingly.