Bakeries that make products using sesame seeds are figuring out how they will handle them starting Jan. 1, 2023, when they will become the ninth major allergen in the United States.

Nathan Mirdamadi, senior food safety specialist, North America, Commercial Food Sanitation, said he’s working with companies to ensure they have pans dedicated to products with sesame seeds and the right pan cleaners, among other things.

“Obviously the ideal scenario is trying to dedicate a line for just sesame seeds,” he said. “If that is not feasible, you’re going to have to look at schedules. You’re going to try to bunch up all the sesame products and run them at once.”

Companies need to decide how much time and resources will be needed to ensure sesame seeds stay only in the products in which they are labeled. It may be difficult but it’s not impossible.

“I think plants have been quick to put up a white flag and say, ‘We can’t remove all the sesame seeds,’" Mr. Mirdamadi said. “I will agree to an extent it’s like trying to remove all the sand off the beach, but I also believe most of these bakeries have never really tried to clean all the sesame seeds. Let’s go piece of equipment by piece of equipment and truly try to do it and see what it takes. If we can get a man on the moon, we can probably get seeds off a line.”

Attendees at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas, Sept. 17-21, can learn more about this topic during Mr. Mirdamadi’s presentation with Jill Weyhgandt, FSQA director at Aspire Bakeries. They will present “Lessons Learned While Addressing Sesame Seeds at Commercial Bakeries” twice during IBIE: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, and 9:45 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, W314.

This article is an excerpt from the July 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Food Safety, click here.