2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC794
Submitter : Mr. B. G. Burns Date & Time: 09/13/2005 06:09:33
Organization : Mr. B. G. Burns
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
GENERAL
GENERAL
Gluten free on a food label means that it contains nothing derived from the grains wheat, oats, barley or rye. These foods all contain gluten and are thus like poison to anyone suffering from celiac disease.
To identify these food items takes a lot of time thru reading labels in their entirity and trying to determine if perhaps some ingredient has a modification made to it with something that does contain gluten (i.e. soy sauce as one example) Reading the labels expands the grocery buying time, I would estimate, 10 fold. (I urge your members to read some of the labels on some of the packaged foods!! What are all the "additives" and are they -so many of them-- necessary?
I would estimate that only 1% of foods purchased for our family consumption is labled as being "Gluten Free". (Thank goodness, my wife is an excellant cook/baker and very inovative in the kitchen!) She uses a number of different flours to do baking, breading and thickening.
GLUTEN FREE Printed on a label has a HUGE influence on whether or not it is purchased. If it doesn't read "Gluten Free" then we attempt to make that determination from reading the label, and if there is ANY doubt as to its containing gluten, it is put back on the shelf and another option/item considered.
Buying ANY gluten free labeled food is expensive. One firm, PAMELA'S, markets a package of cookies that are gluten free and we pay approximately $4.00 for 9 cookies. A loaf of bread is often in the range of $4.00 to $5.00. (and I might add, is frozen solid and is not very palatable!)
I almost lost my wife to Celiac disease. Prior to being diagnosed, she weighed about 155 and in a matter of 5 1/2 weeks, lost (due to chronic diarhea) down to 122 pounds. Every day she ate anything containing GLUTEN was like eating poison! She is TOTALLY INTOLERANT to GLUTEN and any foods which contain it. I also have a son who suffers from the same situation.
TRUE AND CONSISTANT LABELING OF FOODS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO US. IDENTIFYING FOODS WITH GLUTEN IS NOT AN OPTION. IT IS A LIFE AND DEATH DECISION!
ANYTHING CONTAINING GLUTEN M U S T BE IDENTIFIED ON ALL FOOD LABELS.
Thank you
Bobby G. Burns