2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1010
Submitter : Mrs. Jackie Campanale Date & Time: 09/20/2005 03:09:21
Organization : Mrs. Jackie Campanale
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
In response to the questions posted regarding gluten-free labeling of foods, my comments are as follows:

To me, the label "gluten-free" means that there are no ingredients in the product containing wheat, rye, barley or oats - not even trace amounts.

I am the mother of a 6 year old child with Celiac Disease and when I shop for food he can eat, I purchase some of it in the specialty food section where they sell products specifically manufactured for people on a gluten free diet. I also shop for "regular" foods that he can eat. This can double my shopping time because I need to read every ingredient on the label to be sure my son doesn't ingest gluten.

Where I shop there is a small section with labeled gluten free foods - probably a shelf about 4' x 4'. However, I am lucky to have a Wegman's food market in my neighborhood. They have a listing on their website (www.wegmans.com) that shows every Wegman's manufactured product that is gluten free. It's a wonderful store.

Gluten-free printed on the label doesn't influence me to buy a product over one with the same ingredient. The gluten-free labeled products are usually at least double the price of a non-gluten-free product so I would tend to purchase the cheaper. I do believe a label on a product and I trust that manufacturers are not falsifying their products.

As far as labeling different levels of gluten free on a product, If you truly have celiace disease, any gastroenterologist will tell you not to ingest gluten of any kind or amount. I guess for people who are "gluten sensitive" the labeling might lead them to try foods with trace amounts and see how their bodies react. But to keep a person with celiac disease, especially a child, you need to eliminate even trace amounts of gluten.

I hope my comments are useful and help you come to some conclusions on how the labeling should be done.

Thanks for your time.

Jackie Campanale