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Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies: Sesame Allergies



Authors as Published

Katheryn Parraga, Muscle Food Safety Extension Specialist; Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Tech; Joell Eifert, Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; and H. Lester Schonberger, Associate Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech

Sesame Allergies

Remember to ALWAYS read food labels carefully and watch for hidden allergens. Hidden allergens are ingredients derived from or containing major food allergens with common names that may be unfamiliar to consumers. Foods of ingredients to AVOID if allergic to sesame: (This is not an exhaustive list.)

  • Benne, benne seed,benniseed
  • Gingelly, gingelly oil*
  • Gomasio (sesame salt)
  • Halvah, halwah
  • Sesame flour
  • Sesame oil*
  • Sesame paste
  • Sesame salt
  • Sesame seed
  • Sesamol
  • Sesamum indicum
  • Sesemolina
  • Sim sim
  • Tahini, tahina, tehina
  • Til

Note: *When oils are highly refined most people with food allergies can safely eat them. However, sesame oil is not usually highly refined, so it is recommended to avoid sesame oil if you have an allergy to sesame.

Contacting the oil manufacturer may be the only way to know if the oil is free from the allergenic protein.

May also contain sesame:

  • Baked goods
  • Bread crumbs
  • Cereals
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Dipping sauces (Hummus)
  • Dressings, gravies, marinades, and sauces
  • Desserts (Pasteli, Sim sim, Halvah)
  • Falafel
  • Flavored noodles and rice
  • Margarine
  • Meats and sausages
  • Protein energy bars
  • Soups
  • Sushi
  • Tempeh
  • Vegetarian burgers

Cuisines: Chinese, Egyptian, French, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Italian, Israeli, Lebanese, Mexican, Turkish, Ugandan, Vietnamese.

Please note that in packaged foods prior to January 1, 2023, sesame was not required to be labeled as an allergen. If allergic and unsure whether a food product contains sesame, it is best to avoid that food or contact the manufacturer for more information.

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Publication Date

May 31, 2023