2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC112
Submitter : Mrs. Margaret Moore Date & Time: 08/19/2005 09:08:46
Organization : Csa/Usa
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
I was diagnosed as having Celia Sprue 15 years ago. Gluten-free labeling is important to me because it means that I can use a food item without fear of becoming sick and damanaging my body. It means that the product is free from any contents or processing that has gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oat) in it. Also, that it has been created/produced in a gluten free enviornment that prevents cross-contamination.

Through research over the years I have educated myself as to ingredients that are safe or unsafe for consumption. The only way for me to identify foods that are gluten free is to read the label usless they have a labeling that indicates that the product is gluten free. I tend to focus on products that I have found to be gluten free through the years. Checking labels is a way of life. When a label says 'NEW' I have to recheck the labeling to make certain that the product is still gluten free. If in doubt I do not purchase the item. I spent a great deal of time when first diagnosed reading labels. Where I used to read the instructions for preparation of products first I now read the ingredient label. It takes time but it is necessary for me to stay healthy.

When shopping at a conventional grocery the percentage of foods marked 'gluten-free' has been and for the most part still is nonexistent. Health food stores and speciality stores display an increasing number of produts that are labeled gluten-free. Recently in my area a co-op has increased the number of products that are labeled gluten-free. They also have designated and labeled areas in their freezer for gluten-free products and are indicating products that are gluten-free with signs on their shelves. They have added bakery products that are gluten free that individuals can purchase (muffins, brownies, cookies).

I will purchase a product that is labeled gluten free first over one with the same ingrediens that is unlabeled. I know that I can trust that the product is free from hidden ingredients and cross-contamination.

When first diagnosed years ago I left the doctor's office with an 8' x 11' page with information of what to eat and what to avoid to stay gluten free. It was most discouraging. Through the years the research that continues to help individuals with Celiac Sprue has helped me to continue to do what I can to stay gluten free. The hope for me has been the efforts that continue to be made to identify ingredients that are safe for those of us with CS. I am fortunate in that I can regulate my diet and remain healthy. Over the years the companies that develop products and label them as gluten free have made my life easier. I enjoy shopping at the local co-op because its designated freezer area and signs on shelves for gluten free products makes for a less stressful and shorter time taking care of my food needs.

Through the years I have had individuals ask for guidance and information when they know of someone who has a newly diagnosed child or adult that has problems with wheat allergies (different from CS). I have always been comfortable telling them about gluten free products because I know that they will be able to use them safely.. My daughter also was diagnosed with CS about 10 years ago. Together we have been able to continue to be gluten free.