2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC137
Submitter : Mrs. Penny Rogers Date & Time: 08/22/2005 01:08:16
Organization : Mrs. Penny Rogers
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
"GLUTEN-FREE" on a label should mean ZERO wheat, bran, barley, or oats (due to cross-contamination) should be included in the items. This is critical for those of us who have "Celiac Disease." As many as 1 out of approximately 120 people have the condition which causes the malabsorption of all nutrients (not just the gluten part). Symptoms range from diarrhea, gas, bloating, severe constipation, stomachache, headaches, bone loss, mental illness, severe anemia, cancer, dematitis herpetiformis, or no symptoms at all. I mainly depend on the ingredient label to identify GLUTEN-FREE foods. Unless there are very few ingredients, this is often very difficult to do since the majority of labels do not state "GLUTEN-FREE". I depend on lists from various companies and a book sold by the Celiac Sprue Association with various products listed as "GLUTEN-FREE". I spend about 1/3 of my time in a regular grocery store reviewing labels (20 minutes per visit). In regular stores less than 1% of foods purchased are marked "GLUTEN-FREE." The items identified GLUTEN-FREE include a rice cake and Nature Made supplements. If a label states "GLUTEN-FREE", I feel safe in purchasing the item; however, just because another item has the same ingredients they could be processed on the same equipment with flours containing gluten, thus I would not purchase the other item.