2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1473
Submitter : Mrs. Tove Deilig Date & Time: 09/20/2005 06:09:29
Organization : Mrs. Tove Deilig
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
GENERAL
GENERAL
1) What should gluten-free mean on a food label? In my opinion, the absence of any wheat, barley, rye, oats and possible cross contamination possibilities. There should be distinction between non-gluten ingredients and gluten free ingredients. Gluten free should signalize that there is no danger of possible cross contamination - otherwise see answer on question 5. Labeling just for allergens is not sufficient. E.g. A product may be labeled "wheat free" But when your read the food label closely the product may have barley in it. Allergen information is therefore not sufficient for celiacs. Too often in the past I have come a cross labels that are misleading. The gluten free product turns out not to be unsafe after calling the manufacturer and asking how the product is made. (Corn tortillas e.g. may be made on a line that produces flour tortillas.)That product should not be labeled "gluten free" rather be labeled as a product that is made with non- gluten ingredients. 2) I identify new foods by calling the manufacturer. Labeling till now has been very poor. Time spent? An 40 min extra every time I shop - compared to the time I used to spend before the diagnose. (Phone lines may be busy when checking on unfamiliar products and reading labels takes time. It would be wonderful to work with labels that state whether the product is gluten free or follow the def. in question 5. Sometimes I shop after hours, that means that I will have to note the number and product in order to call the manufacturer back the next day. I had huge cell phone bills the first couple of months - after my family was diagnosed and I was educating myself of which products were safe to buy for my family. 3) Not enough - compared to the mainstream products that actually are out there for a celic patient. I do not know the percentage. 30%? 4) Whether there is a gluten-free label does influence my choice. I rarely make a phone call when the items states "gluten free." (Only when I suspect that the product may be produced in a facility that produces flour products.) 5) That would indeed be very helpful. Thank you for doing this hearing!