2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC106
Submitter : Mr. Kenneth Samoil Date & Time: 08/19/2005 09:08:09
Organization : none
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Two years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am very excited about the prospect that more food products may be accurately labeled as "gluten-free" in the near future. Currently, many products that are apparently gluten-free are not so labeled. More troublesome is that many products contain ingredients for which the gluten content is unknown, e.g. caramel coloring.

I encourage you to adopt a regulation on the use of "gluten-free" on product labels that is in line with that which has been used in Europe and other countries (including the USA via the Codex Alimentarius) for many years--20 PPM for products that contain naturally gluten-free ingredients, and 200 PPM for products that have been rendered gluten-free such as those that may contain Codex Alimentarius quality wheat starch. The formal adoption of these existing regulations will allow for the continued importation of excellent, safe European products that are labeled "gluten-free."

I believe that it is very important that you do not adopt a "zero tolerance" regulation in this matter because doing so will cause many gluten-free food companies to discontinue their use of the term "gluten-free" on their labels out of fear of litigation--which is counterproductive for all people with this disease (most, if not all, gluten-free food companies do not grow, transport or mill the gluten-free grains that they use as ingredients--a fact that will make them vulnerable to litigation if a zero tolerance level is adopted). Last, the inclusion of trace levels of gluten in the diets of those with celiac disease have been shown to be safe in many scientific studies, for more details please see: http://www.celiac.com/st_main.html?p_catid=15

The adoption of a practical, science-based gluten-free standard will vastly improve the quality of my life and the lives of thousands of others with celiac. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Ken Samoil