2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC119
Submitter : Mrs. Kim Donnelly Date & Time: 08/19/2005 09:08:51
Organization : Mrs. Kim Donnelly
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
FDA Docket #2005N-0279
Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act to require FDA to define Gluten Free for food lables.

1) What should 'gluten Free' mean on a food lable? Gluten free should mean the food has no ingredients nor derivatives of and is not contaminated with WHEAT, BARLEY, RYE, AND OATS. Why? Because the above would be dangerous for a celiac to injest. Anything else would not truly be gluten free.

2) How do you identify foods that do not contain gluten? By CAREFULLY reding lables of ALL food I buy. I am also very educated on 'hidden' ingredients. Identifying food at the grocery store increased my shopping time by 2X.

3) What percentage of foods and which types purchased are marked 'gluten free'? About 5% of the foods I buy are marked gluten free. This # is low because I am educated and can take the time to shop. Not all celiacs have the resources available to them to become so educated. Also, teens that select their own food cannot do this either. Types of foods that I purchase that are labled 'gluten free' are specialty items that are not available in mainstream products with out gluten: baked goods; breakfast cereals; sauces.

4) Does 'Gluten Free' printed on a product lable influence your decision to buy products having the same shared ingredients? Yes, to a GREAT extent because this way I feel that they are regulated to some degree to claim 'gluten free' and I can relax a bit when reading the lable, knowing that I am not going to miss an offending ingredient or that the manufacture did not change their ingredient list from the last time I checked. Shopping as a celiac or for a celiac can be a very intense experience. Mistakes are SO easily made.

FINAL COMMENT: Only 1 in 4000 celiacs are properly diagnosed. The true incidence is about 1 in 133. As awareness increases, so will diagnosis. Labeling foods gluten free will improve quality of life and health for all current celias and for those to be diagnosed. Shopping gluten free can be very expensive. It can easily add 30% to all grocery bills. I say this from experience. Very little families can afford this and celiac children should not be limited to eating peanutbutter and rice cakes just because parents are not educated enough to find affordable gluten free foods. By simply labling food gluten free, celiacs will not have to have a degree in nutrition to shop affordably while making healthy choices for what they purchase. It will also help in overall health via diet compliance in that celiacs will be able to more easily find gluten free foods to complete their shopping list. Thank you for listening. Kim