CHICAGO — Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated sesame allergy is likely to affect at least one million adults and children in United States, according to a study appearing online Aug. 2 in JAMA Network Open. The study’s findings came after the Food and Drug Administration last October began to consider the mandatory labeling of sesame on packaged foods to help protect people who have sesame allergies.
In the study, which may be found here, researchers analyzed responses from 40,453 adults and 38,408 children. They found an estimated 0.49% reported a current sesame allergy whereas 0.23% met symptom-reporting criteria for convincing IgE-mediated allergy. Immunoglobulin E are antibodies produced by the immune system. The study’s findings suggest sesame allergy is relatively common, according to the authors.
The F.D.A. mandates the labeling of eight allergenic foods and/or food groups: peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fin fish and wheat. Scott Gottlieb, M.D., then commissioner of the F.D.A., pointed out last October that a “handful” of studies suggest the prevalence of sesame allergies in the United States is more than 0.1%, or on par with allergies to soy and fish. The F.D.A. at that time requested epidemiological data on the prevalence and severity of sesame allergies in the United States.
The corresponding author for the study in JAMA Network Open is Ruchi S. Gupta, M.D., of the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Gupta also was part of a study that appeared online in January in JAMA Network Open that found more than 26 million U.S. adults are food allergic. The most common allergies were shellfish (2.9% of the population), milk (1.9%), peanut (1.8%), tree nut (1.2%) and fin fish (0.9%).