Sesame as an allergen in Lebanese food products: Occurrence, consumption and quantitative risk assessment

Despite the intensive use of sesame in the Middle Eastern diet, studies on this allergen in this region are lacking. A survey on the occurrence of sesame in Lebanese food products that did not contain this allergen as an ingredient, a food consumption survey conducted in Beirut schools, and the most recent sesame eliciting dose estimates were used to build a probabilistic risk assessment model providing estimates of sesame-induced allergic reactions per eating occasion and per week in Lebanese children and adolescents.

Of 1270 food samples analysed, 34% contained sesame proteins (0.44–3392 mg kg−1). Sesame was detected in 47% of unlabeled bulk samples, 43% of samples with PAL, and 27% of samples without PAL. “Sfouf” had the highest concentration of sesame proteins (mean 549 mg kg−1), highest mean exposure per eating occasion (78 mg sesame proteins for children and 103 mg sesame proteins for adolescents), and posed the highest predicted risk per eating occasion (>20%) and per week (>13% individuals predicted in simulation experience at least 1 reaction).

Bakery products (notably “sfouf”) may pose a serious risk to sesame-allergic children and adolescents in Lebanon. Enhanced guidance on the use of PAL is needed to better protect allergic consumers.

The publication can be accessed using the following link: