2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC113
Submitter : Ms. Jeanette Borzo Date & Time: 08/19/2005 09:08:07
Organization : Ms. Jeanette Borzo
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
GENERAL
GENERAL
Dear FDA,

This letter is to voice my opinions for your hearing on gluten-free labeling.

For those with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a 24x7 concern. And it?s not just a matter of an inconvenient 24-hour bout with crippling diarrhea. Any gluten in the diet can lead to malnutrition, lack of energy, a greater risk of intestinal cancer and other health problems.

Avoiding gluten in restaurants and friends homes is challenging enough. At the grocery store, it would be a huge boost to the health of celiacs if they could easily determine the presence of gluten in food they buy.

Unfortunately, the question of gluten is neither straightforward nor designed with laypeople in mind. Gluten goes beyond a question of basic wheat flour and includes all materials derived from gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley and rye. This means that anything with modified food starch, malt coloring, soy sauce or vanilla ? and hundreds of other ingredients that are ?hidden? gluten sources -- can easily contain gluten.

On your average supermarket shelf today, there are virtually no products marked ?gluten-free? (a special trip to specialty stores is required for gluten-stress-free shopping). Celiacs in large metropolitan areas have recourse to such specialty stores but pity the celiacs in less-populated areas where store choices are limited.

Seeing ?gluten-free? marked on a product is a true aid and anxiety reliever for celiacs. Please require that the labeling of food be as exact as possible so that people with this chronic disease can better manage it ? and save our country plenty of money in unnecessary healthcare costs.

Sincerely,

Jeanette Borzo