Article February 9, 2023

Sesame allergen set to increase product recalls

Undeclared allergens are one of the main causes of recalls in the US, and this is set to rise now that sesame has been declared as a major allergen.

As of 1 January 2023, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) have declared sesame as the 9th major allergen that, if present, is required to be clearly listed on all packaged food, including dietary supplements.

This is in addition to any milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean ingredients.

Failure to do so leads regulators to enforce a recall of the product due to the major risk that an allergic individual will fall sick upon consumption.

Sesame can be a difficult ingredient to spot for consumers and is often present in more foods than typically expected. In the UK, we have seen keto protein bites, Greek dip and sweet makhana food products recalled in the last 3 months alone, due to failure to declare a sesame allergen. We can now expect this number to rise in the US.

Cross contamination is another key contributor to product recalls. Production and manufacturer facilities often take precautionary allergy labelling, even if the allergen is not in the final product but present in the facility. If an assessment deems the risk of a sesame allergen contamination present or unreducible, the product is required to be labelled with a precautionary label such as “may contain sesame” or “not suitable for sesame allergies”.

Allergen awareness is crucial in food and beverage manufacturing, but as vigilant as businesses are, human and technology errors can arise.

A product recall event from a mislabelled product can result in significant recall costs including reimbursement, rectification and business interruption. Smaller businesses can be more at risk as these expenses pile up, especially alongside any brand reputation damage as a result of the recall.

A robust recall plan, when combined with a product recall insurance policy, will provide peace of mind should the worst happen.

To find out more about CFC’s contaminated product recall policy read our brochure here or get in touch with