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Illinois food allergy lawyerAn increasing number of Americans are living with food allergies today than ever before. The CDC says someone suffers a food allergy reaction and winds up in the emergency room every three minutes. More than 32 million Americans have a food allergy and 1.5 million are specifically allergic to sesame. Therefore, effective January 1, 2023, sesame was added as the ninth major food allergen recognized by the United States.

Sesame: The Ninth Food Allergen

Under the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act of 2021, sesame must be clearly labeled on packaged foods. Sesame is an edible seed of the sesame plant and a popular ingredient in everything from baked goods to sushi. Reports suggest this allergy has increased significantly around the world in the past two decades.

When someone is allergic to sesame, the proteins in the seeds bind to antibodies made by the person’s immune system. As with any allergy, that triggers a person’s immune defenses and leads to symptoms that may be mild or severe. Mild symptoms involve swollen lips and hives. More serious injuries include anaphylaxis, which could trigger fatal respiratory problems. This reaction could require being rushed to the emergency room or an epinephrine (EpiPen) injection. Food allergies cannot be cured but learning to manage food allergies and recognizing what foods to avoid can prevent serious health consequences. Here are the nine major food allergens that should be properly identified on food labels moving forward, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:


illinois food allergyAllergies can affect people in many different ways, and food allergies can be especially dangerous. Some of the most common foods that can cause allergic reactions include nuts, shellfish, dairy, wheat, and soy. Many allergies can be life-threatening if a person consumes or is exposed to certain types of foods. Children are especially susceptible to these types of issues, and they may suffer serious harm if they are exposed to allergens while at school. In these cases, parents will need to understand the steps they can take to pursue compensation from a school district whose officials did not take the proper measures to prevent these issues.

Requirements for Schools Regarding Children’s Food Allergies

Food allergies are considered disabilities under the laws of the United States, and schools are prohibited from discriminating against students who have these types of health issues. This means that students who have food allergies should be able to receive the same forms of education and participate in the same activities as other students without being placed at risk of serious injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a set of Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies In Schools and Early Care and Education Programs that provide recommendations for how schools can create a Food Allergy Management Prevention Plan. Multiple federal laws also ensure that schools do not discriminate against children with these types of disabilities. In addition to federal laws and guidelines, multiple states have implemented their own guidelines and requirements.


Protecting Yourself From Food Allergies at RestaurantsAll restaurant patrons trust the food preparers and servers to provide them with a safe meal. For people with food allergies, a mistake can cause serious or even fatal health consequences. You can receive damages by filing a lawsuit against a restaurant that served you food with an allergen in it. However, it is more difficult to prove liability in a food allergy case than a food poisoning case because the restaurant is not strictly liable for food allergies. As a diner, you share some responsibility for informing the restaurant of your allergy and educating yourself on their food. By communicating your allergy concerns to a restaurant, you are protecting yourself against contaminated food and establishing clear liability if you have an allergic reaction.

Advanced Preparation

When investigating a restaurant, you should learn about the types of ingredients they use and their food preparation methods. Some restaurants may include this information on their website, but you should also contact the restaurant in case the information on the website is out-of-date. When in contact with the restaurant, you should ask:

  • For a current list of ingredients used in their dishes;
  • What steps the kitchen staff takes to prevent cross-contamination with food allergies;
  • How often the staff is trained in dealing with food allergies; and
  • Whether a manager trained in food allergen safety is always present at the restaurant.

If a restaurant cannot or will not answer these questions, it may not be safe to dine at that restaurant.

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