2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC90
Submitter : Ms. SR. BARBARA BRUNSMANN Date & Time: 08/19/2005 08:08:25
Organization : SCHOOL SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
GENERAL
GENERAL
DEAR MADAME/SIR:
I WOULD LIKE TO SEE ALL FOODS LABELED PROPERLY, NOT WITH JUST TOP ALLERGENS BUT ALL PERTINENT DATA. IF AN ITEM IS GLUTEN FREE MEANING containing no gluten whatsoever, IT SHOULD BE LABELED AS SUCH. WHEN I SAY ABSOLUTELY NO GLUTEN WHATSOEVER I MEAN JUST THAT. MANY PEOPLE'S ALLERGIES ARE SO SENSITIVE THAT THEY GET SICK FROM THE SLIGHTEST AMOUNT. ALSO WE ARE PUTTING OURSELVES AT RISK FOR MORE AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES WITH ANY GLUTEN WE INGEST. I MYSELF HAVE GOTTEN NON-HODGKINS AND HODKINS LYMPHOMA DUE TO MY UNDIAGNOSED CELIAC. MOST PEOPLE IN MY CONDITION HAVE DIED. IF A LABEL CONTAINS ONLY SOME ALLERGENS SUCH AS WHEAT, PEANUTS, SOY, OR MILK HOW DO WE DETERMINE IF IT HAS OTHER GLUTENS NOT LISTED. SOME MANUFACTURERS HAVE ALREADY GONE TO GLUTEN FREE LABELING WHICH MAKES THEIR PRODUCTS MORE APPEALING, SADLY MANY DO NOT, SO I TAKE MY CELL PHONE TO THE GROCERY AND CALL THE 800 NUMBER ON THE LABEL TO FIND OUT ABOUT A PRODUCT. BUT SINCE I WORK AT THE TIMES MOST COMPANIES HAVE THEIR 800 NUMBER WORKING IT IS DIFFICULT. THEREFORE I SPEND A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TIME TRYING TO DETERMINE IF AN ITEM IS GLUTEN FREE BECAUSE ONLY A HANDFUL OF COMPANIES ARE SPENDING THE MONEY AND TIME TO USE GLUTEN FREE ON THE LABEL. IT IS USUALLY THE BIGGER BRAND NAMES THAT EITHER SAY GLUTEN FREE OR LIST ALL ALLERGENS. I'VE CALLED SOME COMPANIES OR E-MAILED THEM AND THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GLUTEN FREE MEANS. NEWLY DIAGNOSED CELIACS GET LITTLE OR NO HELP FROM THEIR DOCTOR OR EVEN A NUTRITIONIST WITH THEIR DIET. MANY THINK IF THE MAIN INGREDIENT IN A PRODUCT IS NOT ONE OF THE ALLERGENS IT IS GLUTEN FREE. HA, HA!!! WHY DOES RICE CHEX HAVE MALT? WHY DOES UNCLE BEN'S RICE CONTAIN WHEAT? WHY DO PRINGLE'S CONTAIN WHEAT? IF I BUY CORNBREAD OR POTATO BREAD IS IT GLUTEN FREE? NO, NO. OFTEN IT IS ONLY MUCH HIGHER-PRICED SPECIALTY ITEMS LIKE PASTAS AND BREADS THAT ARE LABELED GLUTEN FREE-EVERYTHING SHOULD BE LABELED. GLUTEN-FREE ON A PRODUCT SUCH AS NESTLES MAKES ME HAPPY WITH NESTLES IT INFLUENCES ME TO BUY MORE OF THEIR PRODUCTS. HORMEL LABELS CORRECTLY-I AM HAPPY TO PURCHASE THEIR BRANDS AS IT MAKES MY LIFE EASIER. I WOULD NEVER PURCHASE OTHER PRODUCTS THAT AREN'T LABELED PROPERLY JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE SAME INGREDIENTS AS THE ONES THAT ARE LABELED CORRECTLY THAT'S LIKE SAYING IDENTICAL TWINS HAVE THE SAME PERSONALITY. CELIAC DISEASE IS OFFICIALLY LISTED 1 IN 133 FOR THE USA. I THINK IT'S GREATER. I ALSO BELIEVE IT HAS SOME BEARING ON THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHO ARE AUTISTIC/AUTISTIC SPECTRUM. MANY YOUNG UNDIAGNOSED CELIACS HAVE ADHD. IF A CHILD'S MOTHER HAS EVEN A MILD FORM OF CELIAC AND IS UNDIAGNOSED DURING PREGNANCY, THE CHILD MAKE HAVE SERIOUS DEVELOPMENTAL DELAYS OR NEUROMOTOR IMPAIRMENT. FOLIC ACID IS ABSORBED IN THE SMALL INTESTINE, WHICH IS WHERE CELIAC DISEASE DESTROYS THE VILLI WHICH ABSORB THESE VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS. WE WILL SEE MORE AND MORE DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS IF CELIAC CONTINUES AT THE PRESENT RATE. TESTING FOR THIS INSIDIOUS DIEASE IS STILL VERY UNRELIABLE WITH A LOT OF FALSE NEGATIVES. THEREFORE RESEARCH NEEDS TO BE FUNDED SO THAT EVENTLY ALL BABIES CAN BE TESTED AND RETESTED IF NECESSARY JUST LIKE THEY ARE PRESENTLY TESTED FOR PKU. IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT ONCE YOU HAVE A DOCUMENTED AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASE SUCH AS CELIAC YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING MORE AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES INCLUDING CANCERS, ESPECIALLY
LYMPHOMAS, IS SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER. IF THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY INCREASED THEIR PROMOTION OF TESTING AND METHODS OF EARLY DETECTION NONE OF US WOULD BE PAYING SUCH HIGH HOSPITAL AND INSURANCE COSTS. A LOT OF HEALTH PROBLEMS WOULD BE ERADICTED OR ALLEVIATED WITH PROPER TESTING FOR CELIAC. TOO MANY PEOPLE TODAY WOULD RATHER TAKE A PILL FOR AN ILLNESS SUCH AS DIABETES OR CELIAC THAN TO FOLLOW A RESTRICTIVE DIET, IT IS A WHOLE LOT EASIER. WE ARE AN OVERWEIGHT SOCIETY WHO WANT INSTANT GRATIFICATION FOR EVERYTHING. HELP US BECOME MORE EDUCATED CONSUMERS BY EDUCATING THOSE IN PRODUCTION. THANK YOU SR. B