2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC241
Submitter : Ms. Virginia Menz Date & Time: 08/29/2005 11:08:36
Organization : Ms. Virginia Menz
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
It would be very helpful to have products labeled gluten free and the three stage wording would also be extremely helpful. I have only recently realized that I cannot tolerate gluten and I'm never quite sure when reading a label if it's gluten free or not unless it clearly states gluten free. It may be easy to understand that tomatoes and water listed as ingredients are gluten free but many products have much more complicated ingredients. I spend a lot of time trying to figure this out and sometimes it's after the fact and I'm ill and wondering just what did I eat.

Gluten free on the label does influence my buying the product - there can be many ingredients on a label with names I can hardly pronounce. I tend to be a label reader anyway but to be able to tell at a glance if the food is safe for me to eat would be wonderful. Unfortunately, the example given of two tomatoe cans with only one listed as gluten free is perhaps too simplistic but unknowledgable consumers might simply reach for the can that is labeled gluten free. It's easy; it's clearly stated.

Gluten-free should mean 100% gluten free and if it doesn't then it should be explained further as in a two or three way level of definition. People who are not affected (as in most things in life) simply may not understand the level of illness even the tiniest traces of wheat and gluten can cause for some people. It's crucial for the consumer to be able to know easily and clearly from reading the label and that the label be specific - gluten free should not mean - oh but we put wheat flour on the conveyor belt so the chocolate wouldn't stick so perhaps the chocolate will have traces of wheat/gluten - that to me is not gluten free. Thank you for focusing attention on this issue.