Certain things come to mind when people think of food allergens, such as peanuts, dairy, and shellfish. However, food allergy reactions have increasingly become associated with sesame in the past few years. Today, it’s considered a major allergen. Read on to learn more about sesame, why it’s an allergen, and how ServSafe training is useful for handling it.
What Is Sesame?
Sesame is an annual herbaceous plant with small, oval-shaped seeds that are mainly used in baking and cooking, as well as in some beauty products. The plant is mostly grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and its seeds are considered a healthy source of dietary fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
How Is Sesame Allergenic?
Sesame can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. This reaction happens when the body’s immune system misidentifies proteins from sesame as harmful, thus triggering a reaction. Such reactions can range from mild to severe and may include mouth itching, swelling of the lips or tongue, skin rash, wheezing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Sesame As A Major Allergen
Sesame has recently been declared a major allergen recently by the FDA. With this declaration, the 2022 Food Code requires food service establishments to provide clear labeling of any product containing sesame or its derivatives. The goal is to ensure customer safety for anyone allergic to sesame by providing them with vital information.
What Can You Replace Sesame With?
For individuals who are allergic to sesame, there are some substitutes they can use in its place. Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds are all viable alternatives for baking and cooking. Hemp hearts can also be used as a topping or garnish.
If you manage or own a food or hospitality establishment, ServSafe certification is the key to providing a safe and healthy environment for customers. Keep your staff up-to-date on food allergen precautions. Contact TSC Associates today for ServSafe training and certification.