2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC104
Submitter : Ms. Jane Asher Date & Time: 08/19/2005 09:08:25
Organization : Celiac Sprue Association
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
'Gluten-free' should mean that there is NO wheat, barley, rye, oats, or malt used in food OR DRUG processing, packaging, or finished product. Wheat, barley, rye, oats and malt are the sources of the gluten protein which destroys the small intestine of those with Celiac Sprue Disease (1 in 133 people, most of whom are yet undiagnosed). It currently takes an enormous amount of time to read labels and contact manufacturers in order to determine if a product contains gluten. Celiacs cannot consume even a microscopic amount of gluten or damage will occur. I can only eat gluten-free foods (and drugs), so any food/drug labeled 'gluten-free' is a possibility for me. 'Gluten-free' is the MAIN influence on my purchasing. And there is a very low percentage of food/drugs with labels in this category!

Both Celiac Sprue Association and Gluten Intolerance Group as well as the Universities of Chicago, Maryland, and Utah are raising awareness of Celiac Disease. The result is that doctors can no longer ignore this pervasive problem just because there is no pill to cure us. New celiacs are being diagnosed daily with the result that the food and drug industries must keep up. This disease is a life-long autoimmune disease, and there is no cure. Only a gluten-free diet can erase the damage and prevent further complications such as T Cell Lymphomia, Hashimoto's Thyroid, and a miriad of autoimmune disorders (among many others). Living with Celiac Disease means constant vigilance over the food we eat and drugs we consume. WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!

Putting 'gluten-free' on labels, and eliminating HIDDEN GLUTEN in such phrases as 'modified food startch,' 'spices,' 'flavoring,' etc. will make an enormous difference to those of us with celiac.

Again, WE CAN EAT ONLY GLUTEN-FREE FOOD AND DRUGS!!!!! Help us by forcing better and correct food/drug labeling. Hidden gluten can kill us.

Thank you,

Jane Asher