Have you heard of the Just Label It campaign? It is a campaign pushing for national legislation for labeling of genetically modified foods. Not only would I like to know whether or food has been genetically modified, I would like to know what is in my food in general. How do individuals with allergies outside of the Big 8 realistically manage their allergies when food manufacturers are not required to reveal all the ingredients? What does "spices" mean? What are "fruit flavors"?
Homa Woodrum, along with Brian Heller, and the good people at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, have worked hard to try to get a new rule that would:
"1) require sesame-based ingredients to be listed by name (“sesame”) in the ingredient lists of all foods and;
2) add sesame to FDA’s list of allergens in Sec. 555.250 of its Compliance Policy Guides Manual, “Statement of Policy for Labeling and Preventing Cross-contact of Common Food Allergens” to address both labeling and cross contact issues related to food manufacturing practices."
This would be a huge improvement, a massive step in the right direction, in providing what seems to be very fundamental information--more precise information about ingredients that are in the food being sold at the grocery store. Shouldn't we know what we are buying, and what we are eating? It is actually a matter of life and death for some of us, so why the resistance?
So let's continue this journey by creating a new rule for sesame, and see where it takes us. Sesame is quite high up on the list of common food allergens, and a number of other countries already require it to be labeled specifically on food packaging. We in the U.S. are really behind on this. What can you do to support the food labeling effort? Homa's blog post, Lobbying for Sesame Labeling in Washington D.C., suggests contributing to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, if possible. For updates on the sesame labeling issue, also be sure to visit The Allergy Law Project or Homa's blog, Oh Ma Deehness.