2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1161
Submitter : Mrs. Tina Renick Date & Time: 09/20/2005 04:09:05
Organization : Carilion Health System
Category : Health Professional
Issue Areas/Comments
1) Gluten-free should mean that no ingredients in that food were made using wheat, barley, rye or oats. Also, the place of manufacture for that food should have proper cleaning/sanitation practices in place such that there is no cross-contamination from the equipment between foods that contain gluten and those that do not. Gluten-free foods should require 'full disclosure' of ingredients and contents, with the manufacturer being required to state the source of all vague ingredients such as natural flavorings, food starches and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.
2) Currently, the only way to identify foods that do not contain gluten is to read every ingredient on the label, determine if those ingredients are 'safe,' and, if there is a questionable ingredient, the manufacturer must be contacted to find out if the product is considered gluten-free. Determining if a product is gluten-free is very time-consuming and ofen if there is any question as to the source of the ingredients, I do not purchase that food because I do not want to risk having my child ingest gluten. 3) From my experience, only about 5% or less of products in the grocery stores are marked 'gluten-free.' The percentage is higher in a health food store or food co-op. Gluten-free foods tend to be healthier overall, made from organic ingredients and contain fewer preservatives or added ingredients that are difficult to decipher.
4) Seeing 'gluten-free' on a product absolutely impacts my decision to purchase that product. What it means to me is that the manufacturer followed some standards for making sure that the ingredients are safe for gluten-sensitive individuals. If the product is labeled gluten-free, not only are the ingredients safe, but so is the environment in which that product was made. Knowing that a manufacturer is sensitive enough to gluten-containing ingredients to fully disclose ingredients and deem them 'gluten-free' will influence me to buy that product, even if it costs twice what another product may cost. The label 'gluten-free' is that powerful for someone who is on a gluten-free diet.
Thank you for helping us revise food labeling so that it is safe for individuals on a gluten-free diet.