2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1475
Submitter : Mrs. Celeste Collins Date & Time: 09/20/2005 06:09:55
Organization : Mrs. Celeste Collins
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1. What should "gluten-free" mean on a food label? Why?
The gluten-free label should be reserved only for food containing less than 20 ppm gluten, and in NO case should include foods containing ingredients of wheat starch or oats. There is much controversy over the effect of wheat starch and oats at this time. I do not feel that the scientific community knows enough about the long-term effects of wheat starch and oats to label foods containing them as gluten-free. If wheat starch and oats are allowed, nothing will have changed with regard to the diligence required to eat safely. In fact, it will mean that I now have to read EVERY label, just to make sure I'm not buying a product with wheat starch and oats, which I have chosen not to consume.
2. How do you identify foods that do not contain gluten? And Time spent identifying foods?
I read labels, call manufacturers and rely on lists from support groups. I tend to buy the same products over and over so that label-reading time is kept to a minimum. I spend at least 2 hours per week doing my major shopping in the regular store and about an hour once a month at the specialty store buying specific gluten-free foods.
3. What percentage of foods and which types purchased are marked "gluten-free"?
Crackers, cereals, pasta, tortillas, sausage/pepperoni, specialty mixes and flour blends. These account for 10% or less of my total groceries. I rely heavily on label-friendly companies such as Kraft which are not specifically labeled as gluten-free but have clear labeling of gluten-containing ingredients.
4. Does "gluten-free" printed on a product label influence your decision to purchase products having the same ingredients? And to what extent?
I will always buy the mainstream product labeled gluten-free over a similar product which might be gluten-free but is not labeled. Nothing makes a person with celiac disease happier than to see those two magic words on a package in the regular grocery store - "gluten free." It means we have one less label to read, call to make, item to check.