2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1244
Submitter : Mrs. Joann Stanton Date & Time: 09/20/2005 05:09:38
Organization : Mrs. Joann Stanton
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Re: FDA Docket #2005N-0279

As a person with celiac disease, I welcome the opportunity to respond to your questions about gluten free labeling.
1. Gluten free on the label should mean that the product is 100% free of wheat, rye, barley, oats or their derivatives. Even the slightest bit of gluten causes immediate physical effects, as well as long term and serious consequences.
2. To identify foods that do not contain gluten, I read the label. If there is a questionable ingredient, such as "natural flavoring," I call the manufacturer. Through past experience, I have found that one generally gets more complete information by calling rather than writing. Each call takes between fifteen and thirty minutes. When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I spent a great deal of time (several hours a day for about a week) on the phone in order to assertain which products were safe for me to eat.

Sometimes, even calling the manufacturer is not enough. Some manufacturers claim that their outside vendors do not have to label their products as gluten free, so they tell you to check the label and use your own judgment.This statement may cover the manufacturer, but leaves me right where I started.This has happened to me with Kraft products and Horizon Organic. It would be most helpful to celiacs if all food producers, manufacturers and their vendors, would be required to label their products as gluten free.
3. Between 75% and 80% of the foods I purchase are labeled gluten free. I buy pasta products, crackers, soups, salad dressings, condiments, baked goods, bread mixes, special flours, cereals, snack foods, lunchmeats, ham, hot dogs, bacon, energy bars, and candy that is labeled gluten free. Unfortunately, most of these items must be purchased at health food stores or ordered on-line from special gluten free vendors. This adds considerable time and expense in obtaining the foods I require.
4. I always choose products labeled gluten free over those not so labeled. It is not worth the hassle to do otherwise.
5. Having levels of gluten free products would add unnessary confusion to what is already a time-consuming process. A product labeled gluten free should be just that--100% free of gluten.