October 20, 2011
A petition to consider!
One of our readers, Selena, is a mother of a daughter with food allergies. Selena has started a White House-bound petition requesting that the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 be revised to include for the labeling of items containing sesame seed and mustard seed.
When deciding on what to consider "priority allergens", the allergy's prevalence among the general population and the severity of related allerigc reactions are considered. Sesame allergy is growing in prevalence in Europe and Canada so much so that it is listed as priority allergens along with the top eight (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, egg, wheat, fish, shellfish). It is sometimes hidden in labels as "tahini", "natural flavoring", and "spices". Current figures indicate that approximately 0.1% of the U.S. population -- that's about 3 million people -- are afflicted with sesame seed allergies.
Mustard, while not a very common food allergy, has precipitated severe reactions. Also, it is a common ingredient that often goes unchecked in food labeling as the generic term "spices" which can make it very dangerous for those with life-threatening mustard allergies.
The petition needs 25,000 signatures by November 5th to be considered. To read about the petition and add your signature, check out the official petition here. Whether your family is affected by sesame, mustard, and other allergies or not by any allergies at all, I hope you will consider adding your support to include sesame and mustard in labeling. The clearer the labeling of any product we consume, the more informed our choices will be. This supports overall health and well-being for us all.
For more information about sesame and mustard allergies, check out Allergic Living's article. To follow Selena's food-allergic journey, check out her new Amazing and Atopic blog.