The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued draft guidance “encouraging food manufacturers to voluntarily declare sesame in the ingredient list on food labels.” The guidance notes that “sesame can, in some circumstances (such as when ground and used in a spice blend), be declared in an ingredient statement as simply ‘spice’ or ‘flavor,’ so its presence may not be obvious to consumers.” While FDA has not required sesame to be labeled, “we recommend that manufacturers, as a voluntary matter, clearly declare sesame in the ingredient list when it is used in foods as a ‘flavor’ or ‘spice’ in a parenthetical following the spice or flavor, such as ‘spice (sesame),’ ‘spices (including sesame),’ ‘flavor (sesame),’ or ‘flavors (including sesame).’ If a term is used for a food that is or contains sesame, such as tahini, we recommend that sesame be included in a parenthesis, e.g. ‘tahini (sesame)’ in the ingredient list. This voluntary declaration of all sources of sesame in the ingredient list will help consumers, especially those allergic to sesame, avoid foods that could cause an allergic reaction.” Comments on the draft guidance will be accepted until January 11, 2021.

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