2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1326
Submitter : Ms. Maureen Lowry Date & Time: 09/20/2005 05:09:39
Organization : Ms. Maureen Lowry
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
As an attorney and the mother of a 7 year old little girl I can assure the FDA that it is imperative that labels clearly indicate whether gluten is present in a certain food. Despite my years of training and experience with reading 'fine print,' it is a daily challenge to determine whether foods are safe for my daughter to eat. As things stand now, it is virtually impossible -- absent direct contact with the manufacturer -- to be certain that gluten is not present in the scores of food products containing ingredients such as 'natural flavors,' 'modified food starch' and the like. It is frightening to know that if I make a mistake in reading a lengthy label, my mistake will make my child sick. Of great value are the newer labels which clearly identify the common allergens contained in the product. However, these labels do not go far enough for celiacs because the dangerous gluten is contained in oats, rye and barley as well as in wheat. Because of the difficulty in ascertaining whether food products contain gluten, I generally spend a significant amount of money purchasing more expensive foods labeled 'gluten free' from health food stores. It is hard enough for someone with celiac disease to go through life deprived of the culinary pleasures we take for granted such as enjoying bread on the table of a restaurant or a warm cookie fresh from the bakery. These people should not have to assume the risk of illness from eating food that is inadequately labeled.