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Millions of Americans have food allergies and clearly-labeled packaging is a key aspect of the shopping equation for them.

People with allergies have to take the time to carefully scan each label, making sure that they are keeping themselves safe. Shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and soy are among the most common culprits but there is a wide range of allergens that can cause issues.

Photo: Unsplash/Diane Alkier

However, there is a new rule that has gone into effect that will make life harder for those who suffer from food-related allergies. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. has mandated that all manufacturers must take the time to list sesame on packaging. Sadly, this is going to make life harder for sesame allergy sufferers because it is in more and more foods than ever before.

The Associated Press reports that the law is slated to go into effect on January 1. So what is the issue? It is very difficult for foods that contain sesame (such as bread) to be kept away from their non-sesame counterparts when the preparation process is taking place. This puts manufacturers in a very challenging position.


Per the Associated Press, some manufacturers are now deliberately adding sesame (in seed, flour, or oil form) to the foods they make. It is much cheaper and easier to take this step.

From there, they simply declare the allergen, as opposed to creating a wide range of new supply processes to keep the products away from each other. The voluntary labels that warn about the foods that “may contain” certain allergens? They are going to be a thing of the past, too.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Hustvedt License: CC BY-SA 3.0

The new law will require products to state that the allergen is present. If not, then the label must state that the item does not contain any of the allergens in question. This places companies and chains in a tough spot, which is causing them to take steps that are not expected. Olive Garden, Wendy’s and Chik-Fil-A are simply adding sesame to their foods, to avoid cross-contamination concerns.

Consumers who are purchasing certain items out of habit may need to change their ways in 2023. Cookies, dressings, and other processed products are expected to make a similar shift.