The government added sesame to its list of allergens as a the FASTER Act, which goes into effect on Jan. 1. This regulation triggers all sorts of complicated tests and requirements for consumer notification in order to prove that the food product you are selling don’t contain the allergen, in this case, sesame. The plants where your foods are handled and processed must be inspected, cleaned, and maintained in such a way as to ensure that there is no way that sesame could contaminate the foods handled there. It’s a costly process.

The costs of testing, certification, and other compliance costs were so high that some restaurants discovered that it was cheaper to simply add sesame to their food and then put a waring label on it, declaring that the food contains sesame. By adding sesame to products that didn’t previously contain it, companies may be able to skirt manufacturing processes that would ensure production facilities are clean enough to avoid cross-contact with the allergen.

So that is exactly what they did. Chick-Fil-A, Olive Garden, and other restaurants have added sesame to their products so that they can avoid the added expenses incurred in not having sesame in their food products, while still complying with the FASTER act. These establishments are now fully in compliance with the new law.

According to Jason Linde, the senior vice president of government and community affairs for FARE, a nonprofit working to increase food allergy awareness, the nonprofit is disappointed that companies seem to be defeating the purpose of the FASTER Act, potentially putting millions of people’s lives at risk.

The same is true of assault weapons bans. What the left says is an “assault weapon” is a semi-automatic rifle with certain cosmetic features (pistol grip, barrel shroud, collapsible stock, etc.) that don’t change its function. So when the last AWB went into effect, people complied with the law by using bullet buttons, fixed stocks, thumbhole stocks, eliminating bayonet lugs, etc. The left then accused them of “exploiting loopholes” when what they were really doing was complying with the law.

This is what happens when you demand that the government do something. They do something without regard for the unintended consequences of what it was that they did, then you wind up with sesame seed breadsticks or sesame flour on your chicken nuggets.

Categories: Government


Differ · December 31, 2022 at 7:28 am

Reading the comments in the linked buzzfeed article indicates a lot of people are reacting with emotion AND either did not read or cannot understand the FDA statement that simply adding a label indicating that the products cannot be guaranteed free of cross-contact allergens will not comply with the new law.
Unintended consequences bite.

SiG · December 31, 2022 at 11:07 am

A while back, California passed that proposition that any product that had any of a long list of things they think cause cancer in it needed a warning. It seems that companies responded by just putting the warning on their product.

It seems that to avoid companies just saying it might contain sesame, they added that saying it might if there’s no sesame would violate the law (as Differ points out). So they added some sesame to make sure they didn’t violate that provision.

The second order unintended consequence is that if the big chain restaurants do like (I think it was Olive Garden) and add 2% sesame to their flours, the sesame flour companies will increase sales and grow. Meaning sesame will become more common where it wasn’t before.

The third order unintended consequence is that a law intended to “make life better” for people with sesame allergies will make life worse for them by putting sesame everywhere.

In the manufacturing world a few years, a system for finding the root cause of a product failure became popular. The idea was that you asked why (did that happen) five times. Legislators should ask “and then what happens” five times.

It's just Boris · December 31, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Huh. It’s almost as if the people who make these regulations, have zero experience in the commercial world, and don’t ever think to ask people with such experience what might happen as a result of their new regs.


Angus McThag · January 1, 2023 at 8:38 am

As someone who has a food allergy, I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to figure out what had mushrooms in it.

A warning label seems the appropriate response to the presence of an allergen than what amounts to a ban on a given ingredient because someone cannot be assed to learn what will kill them once they’ve learned of their affliction.

If your allergy is bad enough, you can avoid it. It means learning a lot of food processing and cooking from rawer ingredients… and never eating out.

But it’s your life to risk.

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