2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1281
Submitter : Mrs. Terry Rebentisch Date & Time: 09/20/2005 05:09:10
Organization : Mrs. Terry Rebentisch
Category : Food Association
Issue Areas/Comments
FDA Docket # 2005N-0279

Q. What should ?gluten-free? mean on a food label? Why?

A. Gluten-free on a food label needs to mean the complete absence of gluten. Too many additives have a component made from gluten and it is not clearly labeled. i.e.: dextrin, rice syrup, brown sugar, modified starch, sodium caseinate, or calcium casemate, etc. Then there are the problems like monosodium glutamate that have been allowed to be listed as natural flavoring and we are unaware that they are contained in the product.

Q. How do you identify foods that do not contain gluten? Time spent identifying foods?

A. Shopping can be a nightmare, reading every ingredient on a label (the lettering is getting entirely too small for me to read, even with glasses) and we are left to purchasing the purest form of a food and cooking from scratch. This allows us to know exactly what we are eating. I?ve had to rely of the information that I?ve been able to learn about foods, medications, and additives, and hope that I haven?t been misled.

Q. What percentage of foods and which types purchased are marked ?gluten-free??
A. If we relied on ?gluten-free? marked packaging we would starve to death. Where I live there is very little with those markings. I take advantage of the soups in our local grocery that contain that marking, it is very limited. We have chicken, beef and vegetable broth. We have also purchased ?gluten-free? brownie mix. Otherwise we have to rely on our own knowledge. We still always have to read labels as the product may still contain gluten.

Q. Does ?gluten-free? printed on a product label influence your decision to purchase products having the same ingredients? To what extent? Example: Two cans of tomato sauce on the shelf both contain only tomatoes and salt and only one is marked gluten-free.

A. As I stated before on products like broth, it makes all the difference, I only purchase ?gluten-Free? products. I still have to read the label as ?gluten-Free? is not always accurate. On a product like tomato sauce it wouldn?t make any difference. Tomato and salt are very simple products, neither contains any gluten. If the label said modified food starch or natural seasoning, I would not purchase the product. Our five month old granddaughter has just been diagnosed with Celiac Spruce Disease. Her parents are having a very difficult time adjusting to the change in their diet. Her mother has had to quit work so she can devote more time to cooking and shopping for appropriate foods. We now have three families in our family integrating Gluten free cooking into each and every meal. It is very time consuming for each of us and would be a help to have more foods to purchase that are truly ?gluten-free.?

Q. Would you consider a two or more level definition of gluten-free helpful?

A. I am amazed that intelligent people can?t grasp that a gluten free diet doesn?t mean it?s ok to have a little gluten. Gluten brings on an immune system reaction to persons with Celiac Spruce Disease that is damaging to the persons health. Our eight year old granddaughter has very severe reactions to any gluten. Celiac Spruce Disease is very limiting to our grandchildren?s
Involvement in social events and public school. Our food and environment has to be controlled with exactness. For example, they are not able to play with ?play-dough.? It?s a product made with gluten. It would contaminate hands and the surface it was played on. It would not be helpful for anyone to multi-label a product for me. I would also like to be able to learn about ?Gluten-Free? medications, it is very difficult to evaluate medications from a Celiac Spruce perspective. The information simply isn?t available.
Thank You,