The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has added sesame to the list of foods that must be labeled as allergens on packaged products -- while, in a separate ruling, approving a petition from Kellogg Company to increase vitamin D content in cereal and allow it in grain-based snack bars.
In announcing the sesame labeling rule yesterday, the FDA cautioned people who are allergic to that ingredient that it could be a while before they notice the change that went into effect on Jan. 1.
“The law establishing this sesame labeling does not require food products that were already on their way to the store or in stock before 2023 to list sesame as an allergen on the label,” the FDA noted. “Therefore, these food products do not need to be removed from the marketplace or relabeled to declare sesame as an allergen.”
Because some CPG foods have a long shelf life, “it’s hard to say when pre-2023 stock will be replaced with food products carrying the required labels. So, proceed with caution during this transition period.”
Sesame became the ninth major food allergen addressed by the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act passed in 2021. The other eight were defined through a federal law passed in 2004.
The issue of Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D dates to 2011, when the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued a report to the FDA. Subsequently, Kellogg submitted reports of scientific studies to the FDA showing that the company’s proposed uses of vitamin D are safe.
According to the Jan. 5 issue of the Federal Register, Vitamin D now may be included at levels up to 560 international units (IU) per 100 grams in breakfast cereals and up to 400 units per 100 grams in grain-based nutrition bars.
Prior to the FDA’s recent guidance revision, cereals had an upper limit of 350 IU/100 grams. Grain-based bars were not able to be fortified with vitamin D.
Kellogg did not specify what levels of vitamin D it will actually add to cereals or grain-based bars.
The FDA is accepting objections to the Vitamin D ruling until Feb. 6.