2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1361
Submitter : Ms. Marcia Crofutt Date & Time: 09/20/2005 05:09:18
Organization : Ms. Marcia Crofutt
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Docket: 2005N-0279
Please pass the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer protection Act that requires the FDA to DEFINE GLUTEN-FREE for food labels.
Gluten-Free on a food label should mean that there are no gluten molecules in the food. For people like me, ingesting gluten may have long term effects that may lead to destruction of intestinal organs which may lead to starvation and death. The immediate effects I have are diarrhea, painful irritation of intestinal tissue, and bleeding. I teach school, and cannot leave children alone in the classroom to constantly go to the bathroom. This affects my job performance.
Food preparation has become a nightmare. Because manufacturers may change ingredients at any time, I spend about 15-20 minutes on each grocery shopping trip reading labels. I will not buy foods containing wheat, rye, oats, or barley. Gluten may hide in ingredients such as modified food starch and distilled vinegar. One is not sure if a food is gluten free unless the manufacturer tells us it is. I estimate that less that 0.5% of food in my local grocery are listed as gluten-free. Therefore, I must travel 100 miles round trip to a health food store to buy foods listed as gluten free. If two items with the same ingredients are on the shelf and one is listed as gluten free, I will buy the gluten free label over the non identified one.
Quaker Oats company does not add gluten to their rice cakes, but they cannot guarantee that the rice has not been exposed to gluten before it gets to them. Therefore, I will not buy them.
Having a definition of levels of the amount of gluten in a product would not be of benefit to me. I may not have a noticeable reaction to eating a tiny bit of gluten once. But over a long period, it would cause severe reactions and bodily damage.

Manufacturers who will not identify gluten free foods are losing my dollar. I guess they are the losers in the long run.
Marcia Crofutt