Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) are used as raw or roasted ingredients in pastries, ice cream, cereals, chocolate or for the production of oil or paste. Labeling is mandatory in the European Union, Canada and Australia.
Sesame allergy is a growing food allergy, since the consumption of sesame increased with the awareness of healthy lifestyle and nutrition. Sesame is also often used in vegetarian diets. Furthermore, it can cause serious allergic symptoms like anaphylactic shocks. The only effective treatment to protect sensitized patients from allergic symptoms is a strict avoidance of sesame containing food. In the European Union, Canada and Australia sesame has to be labeled on prepackaged food, since it is included in their lists of major allergy-causing substances. Until now, seven different proteins of sesame were identified as allergens (Ses i 1-7). The only effective treatment to protect sensitized patients from allergic symptoms is a strict avoidance of sesame containing food.
Sesame can be present in various foodstuffs including bakery products, baking mixes, cookies, chocolate or desserts. Within production sites sesame-containing food and sesame-free food is produced on the same production lines. Here, unwanted cross-contamination with sesame is possible. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze these foods.