Food Allergy: Is Sesame Seed the “Middle Eastern Peanut"?

A survey of 1800 patients with suspected IgE-mediated food allergic reactions was conducted in Lebanon. Clinical correlation was done in 93 patients.

21% patients had positive specific IgE to food allergens.

The major causes of food allergy were:

- cow's milk in infants and young children
- hazelnut and wheat flour in adults

Although specific IgE to peanut were higher than for sesame, peanut-induced allergic reactions were mild, in contrary to sesame where anaphylaxis was the only clinical manifestation.

Recently, sesame has been recognized as an increasingly frequent and potentially severe allergen. Sesame allergy is probably related to the nutritional habits of the local population.

Skin test with “Tahini” sauce can be used to evaluate food allergy to sesame, especially if the skin test with sesame extract and sIgE are negative (


Food Allergy in Lebanon: Is Sesame Seed the “Middle Eastern” Peanut. World Allergy Organization Journal: January 2011 - Volume 4 - Issue 1 - pp 1-3.
Diagnosing sesame allergy by an immediate-reading “contact test” with sesame oil. JACI, 2011.
Sesame Food Allergy may affect 0.1–0.2 % of the population, only one fatality has been reported
Image sources: Wikipedia, public domain.

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