Total avoidance of sesame seeds is needed if you have an allergy to sesame seeds.
Sesame seeds can be found in foods all around the world. India, Pakistan, China, North and South America, North and South Africa, Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Europe all use sesame seeds in their cooking.
In Australia, sesame seeds are used in many food products and dishes, so care needs to be taken for someone with a sesame allergy.
- Whole seeds can be sprinkled on dishes for extra crunch and flavour. They are also used raw in some dishes.
- Ground sesame paste or tahini is used in both sweet and savoury dishes, and is used in both hummus and halvah, two well-known Middle Eastern dishes.
- The oil from white and brown sesame seeds is used as a cooking and flavouring oil and black sesame seed oil may be used in small amounts for flavour as well.
It pays to learn the words for sesame in your own language so that you can know which foods and recipes contain sesame.
Avoid these if you are allergic to sesame:
- Benne seed
- Gingelly seeds
- Sesame oil (also known as gingelly or til oil)
- Sesame salt (gomasio)
- Sesame seed, black or white
- Sim sim
- Tahini (Sesame Paste)
Some people can have a small amount of sesame in foods, while others need to avoid all traces. Discuss this with your doctor.
If you need to avoid all sesame, check food labels to ensure you know which foods contain sesame. Ask your doctor if you also need to avoid foods which ‘may contain sesame’.
Products which often contain sesame include:
Herbs and Spices
Middle Eastern foods
For more information
- Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) www.allergy.org.au
- FSANZ - Food Standards Australia and New Zealand for information on food labelling www.foodstandards.gov.au
Care needs to be taken when eating out, but there is no reason why you can’t enjoy eating away from home.
Look out for:
When dining out, always speak with the person who is preparing the food.