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Unmasking Hidden Allergens in Restaurants: Sesame

Updated: Jan 19

It has been over a year since sesame was added as the ninth major food allergen under U.S. law. This law requires that sesame must be listed as an allergen on all foods made and sold in the United States.

If you have a sesame allergy, it is important to be aware of the hidden presence of sesame in restaurant dishes. In this post, I will explore some examples of dishes that may contain sesame, even though it is not immediately apparent.

Here are examples of restaurant food that may contain sesame:

  • Buns, bagels, and other baked goods

    • Sesame is often topped on hamburger buns and bagels

    • Sesame flour can be used in certain baked goods 

  • Pizza dough

    • Some pizza doughs use sesame flour

  • Asian fare

    • Sushi and rolls often have sesame added

    • Stir fries, marinades, and sauces may contain sesame or sesame oil

    • Congee is often topped with sesame

  • Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare

    • Hummus contains tahini, which is made up of finely ground sesame

    • Baba ghanoush

    • Falafel

  • Salads and salad dressings 

    • Check the ingredient list of the salad to confirm they do not contain sesame

  • Veggie burgers

To ensure a safe dining experience, it's important to check the ingredient list of the dishes and ask the server or chef about the presence of sesame in the dishes. The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) provides a comprehensive list of ingredients that should be avoided for those with a sesame allergy.

By being aware of the hidden presence of sesame in restaurant dishes and taking necessary precautions, those with a sesame allergy can still enjoy a safe and delicious dining experience.


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