2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1418
Submitter : Ms. Cindy Pacheco Date & Time: 09/20/2005 06:09:55
Organization : CSA
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
In advance, thank you taking the time to consider our needs.

1. Gluten free should mean, in my opinion, containing no gluten, or foods that naturally do not contain gluten including common ingredients in foods such as 'modified food starch', caramel coloring, etc. Why? Because someone with Celiac disease (me)would become ill consuming a food that contained gluten.

2. I identify foods that contain gluten by reading labels on products, and calling the company. As we have to read every label on things that we purchase, it takes me about 2 hours to grocery shop only for a few items.

3. Most of the products I buy now are marked gluten free - approximately 80%. This does not include the naturally gluten free foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables. The products that I do buy that are not marked gluten free are the ones that clearly identifies it source of flavorings, modified food starch, and caramel coloring, etc. I also buy products that the company confirms gluten free when called and are enthusiastic that I am buying their products. I will 100% support a company and buy their products when they graciously make my life and commitment to my diet easier!

4. Gluten free printed on a product definately influences not only my decision to purchase, but also my friends and family. Just because I have Celiac disease does not mean that I don't have an active social life and invited to dinner at friends house. They would also be apt to buy products that are labeled gluten free. If a label has gluten free on it, it means that the company has it's consumers best interest at heart, and I would (do) buy products that state gluten free, before other products. #1, it makes my shopping trip much shorterI appreciate the companies that identify there sources!

Additional comment: By labeling of food products gluten free, it takes the guess work out. It would also be helpful to have the source listed of additional ingredients such as flavoring and coloring. In the long run, it would save health care dollars as we would not be getting incidental gluten, or by accident!

Incidently as all manufactures know, word of mouth goes a long way. Most of us share all of our information that we obtain regarding products. And I do have to say, that some of the products that I purchased on a regular basis before being diagnosed with Celiac disease I no longer buy as the company was difficult to get information from or did not return calls, etc. One company told me to read the label! As if I didn't! However, if the source is not identified, you need to call. Having to deal with all of this is bad enough, but having companies that are not willing to help their consumers in my opinion, is unexceptable and you as can imagine, I let all of members of my support group know which company was difficult!

So to sum of all this up, I would buy products that are listed gluten free over products that are not. I feel that sources of flavorings, food starches need to be disclosed also. I applaud companies like Kraft and Campbells that are already listing sources in their products!

Thank you for taking the time to read this
C. Pacheco, RN
Healthcare provider AND consumer diagnosed with Celiac disease by biopsy