Sesame Seed Allergy

Sesame seed allergy is called by some the “peanut allergy of the Middle East,” it is becoming more commonly diagnosed globally. In Israel, it is behind egg and dairy in children diagnosed with food allergies. In Australia, it is fourth behind peanut, egg and dairy. One of every 5-6 people in studies have anaphylactic reactions to sesame. In the United States it has not been declared a common allergen so not required to be boldly labeled either. [It has been so in Europe and Canada].  Beware of bakery and grocery bread bins, burger buns, humus, and curry pastes, and McDonalds restaurants, as all their burger buns have seeds, and very high risk for cross contamination. Chinese cuisine uses sesame as well.

From the Allergic Child webpage: http://www.allergicchild.com/sesame_allergy.htm

“Experts have estimated that sesame is becoming the 9th most common allergen behind dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.  Sesame seeds are available in three colors: white, brown and black. Sesame appears in foods as seeds, oil or paste and is used mainly in baking and concealed in other foods. ”  “Sesame oil is used extensively in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries because it has many desirable properties.  There has been a report claiming that sesame oil is less antigenic than cottonseed or peanut oil. However, sesame oil is usually a crude oil, not highly refined, and therefore may contain significant amounts of sesame protein. It may therefore be a problem to those who are sensitive to sesame. Anaphylaxis has been described to both sesame seed and sesame oil.”   “Ground, the seed is used as flour, or as butter, known as “tahini”. It can also be fermented into “tempeh”, or ground into a powder and mixed with a sweetener to make “halva.” The seeds can also be sprouted and used in salads. A special process produces a clear white seed that is common on hamburger buns. ”  “Sesame can show up in products that aren’t ingested, but used in lotions and shampoos.  Read the labels on these products also.  Contact allergies can cause severe reactions also.”

Ingredients list from Cooking Allergy Free website:

  • “Curry powder – mixture of spices used for making curry or for seasoning food, commonly used in Indian cuisine; most commonly used are cardamom, chiles, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, mace, nutmeg, red and black pepper, poppy and sesame seeds, saffron, tamarind, tumeric, ginger, garlic and mustard seed
  • Garam masala – hot spice mixture, common in Indian cuisines
  • Green curry paste – curry paste is a blend of ghee, curry powder, vinegar, and other seasonings; green curry paste is made of green chili peppers, lemon grass, garlic, scallions, ginger root, coriander, caraway seed, and sometimes salt, kaffir lime skin and galangal root. Many other seasonings may be included
  • Green curry sauce – main ingredients consist of coconut milk, green curry paste, eggplant, sugar, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, and thai basil leavees
  • Halvah – middle eastern confection that can be based on tahini or semolina
  • Red curry paste – curry paste is a blend of ghee, curry powder, vinegar, and other seasonings; red curry paste is made of red chili peppers, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, ginger root, coriander, cumin, trassi (shrimp paste), oil and sometimes salt, kaffir lime skin, and galangal root. Many other seasonings may be included
  • Red curry sauce – main ingredients consist of coconut milk, red curry paste, and fish sauce
  • Sesame meal – flour ground from dried sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil – organic oil derived from sesames, having the distinctive aroma and taste of sesame seeds
  • Sesame paste – a paste made from ground sesame seeds
  • Sesame seed – oil rich seeds from the sesame plant, used whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavour
  • Tahini – a paste used to make hummus, made from ground sesame seeds
  • Yellow curry paste – curry paste is a blend of ghee, curry powder, vinegar, and other seasonings; yellow curry paste is made of red chili peppers, lemon grass, garlic, shallot, ginger root, tumeric, coriander, caraway seeds, trassi (shrimp paste), and sometimes salt, kaffir lime skin and galangal root. Many other seasonings may be included
  • Zatar – spice mixture as a popular condiment in Jordan, traditionally made of thyme, toasted white sesame seeds, and salt; some also add savory, hyssop, oregano, cumin and fennel seed.”
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One Response to Sesame Seed Allergy

  1. Jacqueline October 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    Don’t forget Japanese cuisine! Sesame is common.

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