Food Allergy Quick Guide

Sesame Seed Allergy

Sesame seed allergy appears to be on the rise in many¬†countries, including the United States. Allergies to other seeds (e.g., poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, rapeseed, & flaxseed, also known as linseed) are much less common, so they are not discussed in detail here. 

If a child in your classroom has a life threatening allergy to sesame seeds, you should avoid these ingredients in the classroom:

  • Benne/benne seed/benniseed
  • Gomasio (sesame salt)
  • Halvah
  • Hummus
  • Tahini
  • Seeds
  • Sesame oil (also known as gingelly or til oil)
  • Sesamol/sesamolina
  • Sesamum indicum
  • Sim sim
  • Vegetable oil

Sesame seed is sometimes found in:
Baked goods (bagels, breads, buns, crackers, cookies, pastries, rolls,  etc.) and certain cereals (e.g., muesli) often contain sesame and other seeds (e.g., poppy, sunflower).

Many snack foods (e.g., trail mix, granola bars, protein bars, candy, rice cakes, pretzels, bagel chips or pita chips) contain sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds may be found in a wide variety of other foods, including margarine, sauces, dips, soups, salad dressing, processed meats, and vegetarian burgers.  

Bakeries and ethnic restaurants (such as Middle Eastern and Asian) are considered high-risk for people with sesame allergy due to the common use of sesame and the risk of cross-contamination, even if a sesame-free item is ordered.