NEW YORK (CBS) — About 32 million Americans have food allergies, but there are new concerns about one that’s not on many people’s radar.
New research finds more than 1 million children and adults are allergic to sesame, prompting calls for the FDA to take action.READ MORE: Police: Man Stabbed In Head With Machete After Argument At Walmart In Kearny, N.J.
Mealtime has been a major worry for Aviva Berry ever since her 5-year-old daughter, Charlee, had a severe allergic reaction on her first birthday.
“We had a celebratory dinner with falafel, and soon after eating it, she immediately broke out in crazy hives,” Berry said.
It turns out Charlee is allergic to sesame.
Sesame allergies are more common than previously thought, according to a new study published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.
Allergist Dr. Alissa Hersh says she’s seeing an increasing number of patients.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 9/25 Saturday Morning Forecast
“Patients with sesame seed allergy are at risk for anaphylaxis. It is severe. We recommend all patients with a true clinical history of a food allergic reactions to sesame seed should carry epinephrine at all times,” she said.
Often a hidden ingredient, sesame seeds, oils and pastes can be found in everything from bagels to hummus and condiments.
Only the top eight allergens — including milk, eggs and peanuts — are required on food labels. Right now, the law does not mandate sesame.
“I think from what we see from the more recent studies, that it is long overdue,” Hersh said. “It would just help so much to help control the situation if you had better labeling.”
“That’s scary to think that whoever’s watching her can give her a product that has sesame because they will look at the warning line thinking they’re covered, and they’re not,” Berry said.
It’s estimated about 20% to 30% of children will outgrow a sesame allergy over time.MORE NEWS: Some Real Estate Agents Report Surge Of New Yorkers Moving From Manhattan To The Bronx
Berry hopes one day her daughter will outgrow the allergy, but until then she stays vigilant.