Sesame Now the Ninth Most Common Food Allergy in US

February 25th 2019
Jennifer Nessel, Assistant Editor
Jennifer Nessel, Assistant Editor

The allergy is reaching the frequency of common allergies, such as soy and pistachio.

Sesame allergy is increasing among children and adults in the United States, with new research establishing it as the 9th most common type of food allergy.

The study, which was presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), collected data through a nationally-representative survey of more than 50,000 U.S. households.

Responses from more than 78,853 children and adults in the United States found that at least 0.2% of the population is allergic to sesame. This data mean that it is approaching the prevalence of allergies such as soy and pistachio. Ages 18-29 years was the most common age group for the allergy at 33%, while about 0.09% of adults over the age of 60 years reported a sesame allergy.

The study also found that more than 50% of individuals with a sesame allergy have received care in an emergency department for food allergy in their lifetime. Another 38% reported at least 1 severe allergic reaction to sesame, with 1 in 3 reporting a sesame-allergic reaction that was previously treated with an epinephrine auto-injector. Approximately 4 in 5 sesame-allergic patients have additional food allergies.

“It is important for consumers to be aware of sesame allergies,” said Ruchi S. Gupta, MD, MPH, in a prepared statement. “With evidence mounting that sesame allergy is on the rise, and can result in severe reactions, we are hopeful that the Food and Drug Administration will take these data into account as they determine whether or not to add sesame to their list of major food allergens.”

Investigators warned that consumers must carefully read food labels, as sesame is not always listed or is often listed under a different or vague name.

If you suspect that you’ve experienced an allergic reaction to sesame, please tell your physician to receive the appropriate confirmatory testing, counseling, and if necessary, an epinephrine auto-injector.

Reference

Sesame now the ninth most common food allergy in the United States [news release]. San Francisco, CA; February 25, 2019: CWCI website.https://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/sesame. Accessed Feb. 25, 2019.

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