2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1317
Submitter : Mr. Timothy Matthews Date & Time: 09/20/2005 05:09:39
Organization : Mr. Timothy Matthews
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Dear FDA:

My 12 year old son is a Celiac patient who has been on a gluten-free diet since he was diagnosed about 10 months ago. Determining which foods are gluten free can be a real challenge, and hence I fully support the efforts to standardize definitions of "gluten free" and to require labeling of food allergens on all processed foods. Because tolerable gluten thresholds have not been scientifically established, I agree with the iterative approach that recognizes more research is needed to adequately define safe levels of gluten in foods, and that thresholds may need to be modified in the future. In the meantime, I support the following which I quote from a celiac disease website:

We encourage you to adopt a regulation on the use of "gluten-free" on product labels that is in line with that which has been used in Europe and other countries (including the USA via the Codex Alimentarius) for many years--20 PPM for products that contain naturally gluten-free ingredients, and 200 PPM for products that have been rendered gluten-free such as those that may contain Codex Alimentarius quality wheat starch. The formal adoption of these existing regulations will allow for the continued importation of excellent, safe European products that are labeled "gluten-free."

It is very important that you do not adopt a "zero tolerance" regulation in this matter because doing so will cause many gluten-free food companies to discontinue their use of the term "gluten-free" on their labels out of fear of litigation--which is counterproductive for all people with this disease (most, if not all, gluten-free food companies do not grow, transport or mill the gluten-free grains that they use as ingredients--a fact that will make them vulnerable to litigation if a zero tolerance level is adopted). Last, the inclusion of trace levels of gluten in the diets of those with celiac disease have been shown to be safe in many scientific studies, for more details please see: