2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1004
Submitter : Mrs. Mary Heffernan Date & Time: 09/14/2005 06:09:49
Organization : Champlain Valley Celiacs
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Gluten Free food is difficult to find. If you go to a "special store", it is expensive, very expensive. Reading labels in a regular grocery store is our way of shopping and even then you are not sure if there might be a trace of something not listed that can be damaging to a Celiac.This takes a very long time to do and we have to do this.Just like the rest of the population,our time is valuable, but we can't afford to just grab anything off the shelf. We have to analyze each ingredient to make sure if it's not a derivative of the four grains, if you are a newly diagnosed Celiac, this can be a nightmare. You come to a point where you only buy certain items because you are told they are safe. Calling companys is a mixed experience and this includes eating out places.
Gluten free means no traces of wheat, barley, oats or rye, in the product or assembled in an area where these are. For example some thing will say gluten free, made in a factory where wheat products are also made.
Cereal for one example, you would think corn flakes or rice krispies are ok, but both contain malt which comes from any of the four grains. Mayonaise, chili seasong packets, some are ok to eat others no, you have to read the label, which is usually small print. If in doubt, don't buy it, or consume it. My son can't eat at school because most of the food contains gluten, unless he gets a salad. A growing teenager can't live on salad. I'm sure there are more foods out there that Celiacs could eat but the label makes you wary. So please put a gluten free notice in readable print on food.
The long term damage of a Celiac eating the wrong food is another medical cost the taxpayer ends up paying for.