2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1408
Submitter : Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston Date & Time: 09/20/2005 06:09:07
Organization : Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston
Category : Food Association
Issue Areas/Comments
Re: Docket 2005N-0279 on the labeling of foods as to "gluten-free"
As someone with Celiac disease, I very much appreciate finding foods labeled "gluten-free." I spend a lot more time buying foods in the store because of reading ingredients on labels, or in locating items from alternative options, ie, mail-order companies, or the internet. I always read the label on every food I buy unless it's something I already know I can't eat (like breads, cookies, crackers, etc.). Sometimes I take a chance with a food item that has an ingredient that may have gluten (like caramel color). I have contacted companies before asking about that specific ingredient because my understanding is that that particular item may have gluten, depending on how it was manufactured.I have often met with someone who cannot tell me if that item was made in a process that exposed it to gluten. That's very frustrating! Then I am left with the choice to either try it, running a risk I may get sick, or leaving out yet another food product from my diet!! I do think "gluten-free" should mean that a product has no barley, oats, rye, wheat, or anything derived from those items. It would be wonderful too if gluten-free also meant the manufacturing and packaging processes were uncontaminated as well!! It seems that some celiacs are more sensitive to gluten than others. For myself, I maintain a separate butter, peanut butter, even jelly from my family to cut down on the risk of contamination from gluten. Thus far in my celiac experience, I have only found cereals, breads, cookies, noodles in specialty stores actually labeled "gluten-free." At an ordinary grocery store I have found only two items actually having "gluten-free" on the label under the list of ingredients: Hormel pepperoni and puddings by Kozy Shack. I was THRILLED to see that on the label and immediately wrote those companies to say "Thank You!" If I find a similar product with the same ingredients as one marked gluten-free, I may purchase it although my first choice purchase would be the one actually MARKED "gluten-free." I have a higher level of confidence in a company that has labeled their product in that way because I know they are conscious of their product and the needs of various consumers. Please consider seriously requiring food manufacturers to label products as gluten-free right up there with nuts, dairy, and others. More and more people are having to eat more specialized diets at least at times if not for life. Thank you!