SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, alleviated concerns for people with sesame allergies by passing a new law that will ensure allergy information is clearly and correctly labeled on foods containing sesame. His legislation was signed into law on Friday, July 26th, by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“Food allergies continue to pose severe health risks for many people. Sesame is a major food allergen that has until now been widely ignored on the national level. I am proud to have led the charge in Illinois to be the leader on this significant issue,” Carroll said. “My daughter has severe food allergies, and I know how critical it is to have accurate food allergen labeling. I thank the Governor for signing this important bill into law, and it brings us one step closer to setting the national standard.”
Carroll’s House Bill 2123 modernizes Illinois’ food-labeling laws by requiring companies producing any food products containing sesame to clearly indicate that on the product’s packaging. The goal behind this comprehensive proposal is to set a trend not only in Illinois, but also across the nation to help inform consumers about the food they purchase. Carroll’s bill successfully passed the General Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support, and is now Illinois law.
Carroll’s new sesame food-labeling law is the first is the nation, and sesame is currently not on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of food allergens. The FDA has a list of eight know allergens, and sesame is the ninth most common food allergen, which thereby exempts it from the FDA’s list. Other nations like Canada, Australia, Israel and the European Union have similar sesame food-labeling laws in place currently.
“The bill sends an important message that people with sesame allergies deserve access to clear, accurate information about the foods they eat,” says Sarah Sorscher, Deputy Director of Regulatory Affairs at Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer group. “We hope the food industry and Food and Drug Administration will take note of this key accomplishment, and take steps to protect consumers with sesame allergies not only in Illinois, but across the country.”