Sesame comes from a plant. Often the seeds are eaten or processed into sesame oil, suitable for (stir) frying, roasting, dressings and marinades. Sesame is mainly used as a seasoning in Oriental cuisine. The seeds are rich in proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B and minerals. The protein in sesame can cause an allergic reaction. Although only a small part of the population is allergic to sesame, the possible consequences of an allergic reaction can be severe. So, as with all other allergens, it is important to recognize which products contain the allergen.
Which products possibly contain sesame?
Except for various Oriental dishes, oil or all kinds of spice mixes, sesame is also in biscuits, bread, crackers, puff pastry, cosmetics and some medicines. It is important to know that products or dishes like Tahini (sesame paste), Gomasio and Halva are always based on sesame. And while Hummus is primarily made from chickpeas, it usually also contains sesame. Manufacturers and suppliers of food are legally required to indicate sesame as an ingredient and therefore it is important to know the (other) names sesame may have:
- Sesame (oil, paste and seed)
- Tahin / Tehina
After ingesting sesame, an allergic reaction would occur within a few minutes. Complaints can range from itching, vesicles (oedema), abdominal complaints, respiratory tract problems to severe swelling in the throat or even a lethal anaphylactic reaction.
A cross allergy is an allergy that occurs when one reacts to a substance other than that for which one is already allergic. Usually these allergens are related. In this case, people who are allergic to sesame may have a cross allergy with:
Looking to replace sesame?
When cooking for someone who is allergic to sesame, you can replace sesame oil with olive or coconut oil and use soya or fish sauce additionally. Use fresh or dried herbs and spices for seasoning, but avoid allergens with an increased risk of cross allergy.
Source: voedselallergie.nl, allergenenconsultancy.nl