Allergy - Sesame free diet

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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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
  • Benne seed
  • Hummus
  • Gingelly seeds
  • Pasteli
  • Sesame oil (also known as gingelly or til oil)
  • Sesame
  • Sesame salt (gomasio)
  • Sesame seed, black or white
  • Sesarmol
  • Sesomolina
  • Sim sim
  • Tahina
  • Tahini (Sesame Paste)
  • Til

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:


Asian foods

  • flavoured rice
  • noodles
  • stews and stir fries
  • tempeh

Baked goods

Baked goods….

  • toppings on buns, breads, bagels, hamburger buns, Turkish bread
  • unwrapped bakery goods eg Sweet or savoury buns, vegetarian rolls/sausage rolls
  • multigrain bread, bread crumbs, bread sticks, biscuits
  • breakfast cereals and muesli
  • cracker biscuits
  • rice crackers and rice cakes


  • hummus
  • vegetable dips


  • may contain ground sesame, tahini or sesame oil

Herbs and Spices

  • dukkah
  • spice or herb mixes
  • za’atar

Middle Eastern foods

  • savoury dishes
  • meat balls
  • Lebanese sweets
  • halva


  • pretzels
  • sesame seed balls
  • snack bars


  • hummus

Vegetarian Food

  • sushi
  • salads
  • savoury dishes
  • vegeburgers

For more information

Dietitian: _______________________________

Telephone: ______________________________


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:

Good options:

  • sesame seeds on top of buns
  • sesame paste, tahini or hummus as a spread in some wraps
  • stir-fries and curries using sesame oil and seeds
  • international (Chinese, Thai, Asian) and vegetarian foods
  • grilled or roasted meat or fish,
  • plain rice or potato,
  • steamed or roasted vegetables.

When dining out, always speak with the person who is preparing the food.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Hunter New England Kids Health

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