2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC1495
Submitter : Mrs. Susan Obergefell Date & Time: 09/20/2005 06:09:20
Organization : Mrs. Susan Obergefell
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
In answer to the given questions:
1) What should 'Gluten Free' mean on a food label? Why? Gluten Free should indicate that a product contains NO Gluten and is safe for a person with Celiac disease to consume. It seems that currently each different food company has a different set of guidelines for what they would identify as Gluten Free. It makes it complicated and unsafe for the consumer. A standard label of Gluten Free should take the guesswork out of reading an ingredient label. There are too many complicated ingredients/ingredient names to be able to fully understand what each item is or what it is derived from. Each company should be required to declare the source of all ingredients clearly on the label, as well as a label of 'Gluten Free' or 'Not Gluten Free'.

2)How do you identify foods that do not contain Gluten? Time spent identifying foods? I read labels and spend time contacting individual companies with questions about certain products. I love seeing a product marked 'Gluten Free' and tend to buy it over a product that I would need to investigate. Calling a company is great when there is a phone number on the product (there often is not) and when it is not a weekend or after business hours. When I am shopping I will look at the manufacturer of a product and try to remember the company policy for labeling - some companies state that Gluten will be clearly identified on the label, others will not commit to saying whether or not there is any possible gluten in a product. I probably spend an extra 15 minutes each trip to the grocery store trying to decide whether or not to buy products, and an additional half hour or so a week calling companies and checking products.

3)What percentage of foods and which types purchased are marked gluten free? My household consists of one celiac adult, and one non celiac adult, as well as three non celiac children. About 25% of bread purchased is Gluten Free and that is all marked gluten free. Cereals and granola bars are purchased only if they are marked Gluten free (about 50% of the household total). I purchase about half gluten free marked salad dressing, and half not marked. Of the not marked salad dressings, the celiac will only consume them after research to find out if they are safe. Meats, dairy, and canned goods seem to be rarely marked and are purchased and investigated before consumption.

4)Does Gluten Free printed on a label influence your decision to purchase products having the same ingredients? To what extent? Yes. I will purchase a gluten free marked product over a non marked product. If two products have the same ingredients, and if I have investigated the non marked product and found it to be safe, I would purchase a non marked product over a marked product if the price was less/if I have coupon or discount.