PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Move over peanuts, sesame will also have to be identified on labels after President Joe Biden signed a new allergy law. It’s a hidden ingredient in many foods that can trigger a dangerous allergic reaction.
It’s a law one West Chester family has been fighting for.READ MORE: Methacton Lacrosse Coach Garth Little Facing Charges After Video Captures Him Shoving Student-Athlete
Sesame will be the ninth food added to the list of items that have to be identified on labels. It can’t come fast enough for the 1.6 million people who are allergic to sesame.
“I like cupcakes and cake,” Camyrn Ford said.
Talking about her favorite foods, 6-year-old Camyrn knows she has to be careful about what she eats being allergic to sesame.
“It’s high anxiety, it’s a little stressful, said Susan Ford, Camyrn’s mom.
Camyrn’s mom says she has to be a food detective because sesame isn’t always identified on labels.
“It can be on under natural flavors or under spices so over time we’ve had to really be aware and contact manufacturers and to make sure that everything is safe for her to eat,” Susan Ford said.
Camyrn had a reaction similar to breaking out in hives. Serious reactions can be dangerous, requiring a shot of epinephrine.
Sesame is now the ninth most common food allergy, impacting a growing number of people.READ MORE: Homeowner's Body Found Following Explosions, Massive Fire In Lower Providence Township Townhouses
“There are certain foods that seem to stimulate the immune system,” said Dr. Manav Segal with Chestnut Hill Allergy Associates.
Often a hidden ingredient, sesame seeds, oils and pastes can be found in everything from bagels to hummus and condiments.
But only the top eight allergens — including milk, eggs and peanuts — are required on food labels. Right now, the law does not mandate sesame.
“It is an extremely difficult food for people to avoid,” Segal said.
But that will be changing, now that Biden signed the FASTER Act, which stands for Food Allergy Safety Treatment Education and Research. It mandates improved labeling so foods containing sesame will have to be clearly identified by 2023.
“Hopefully, we’ll see people make those changes sooner as awareness of the difficulty of avoiding sesame is recognized,” Segal said.
It’s a law that the Ford family has advocated for.
“I’m so excited. We need this more than anything, a voice for the people with allergies of sesame that they don’t have much of a voice. So it’s making everybody’s lives a lot easier and a lot happier,” Susan Ford said.
The new labeling must be in place by Jan. 1, 2023.MORE NEWS: 'Sad Day In The Rescue World': Animal Advocates Fear Proposed Legislation Would Force Dog Owners To Give Up Pets
But until then, families like the Fords will have to continue being their own detectives.