2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC275
Submitter : Mr. Allen Kaszubski Date & Time: 09/01/2005 04:09:50
Organization : Mr. Allen Kaszubski
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
"Gluten Free" should mean exactly no amount of wheat, oats, barley or rye and any derivatives in the product. Do not confuse the issue, if the term says it is free of Gluten than that is what the consumer should get. Reserve a term like "Gluten-lite" for a low percentage of Gluten, but "Gluten Free" should clearly be 100% free of any form of gluten. This should be done to avoid confusion when someone is trying to maintain a healthy and safe lifestyle. There is no cure for Celiac disease but a diet without gluten is as close to a cure as one can get.

Currently it is very difficult to get a comfort level in identifying foods that are gluten free. Labels must be read with close scrutiny and you need to watch for tricky things like "food starch" and "flavourings". Many companies that we have called are trained to answer questions on which products are gluten free, so companies are prepared to handle this issue. We first spent over 100 hours, in first couple of months, after being diagnosed with Celiac disease searching for safe foods to eat. We spend approximately 8 hours a month checking or rechecking for safe foods.

10 percent of foods currently purchased are marked "Gluten Free". These are mostly snack foods like pretzels, crackers and cookies.

If a product is labeled "gluten-Free" I will always buy that first because it gives a comfort level that they have taken care to ensure that the products is safe.

A 2 or more level definition of "gluten-free" is not acceptable if you use the term "gluten-free". The multi level definition would be great if you have a different term for it like "gluten-lite" or "gluten-extra lite", but keep "Gluten-Free" purely 100 percent free of gluten.

In summary, the labeling of products accurately would be very diserable to me and my family. The term "Gluten-Free" is incredible to see on a product and we always look for those products. It would be great if that always meant the product was 100 percent free from all forms of gluten. We are fortunate to be within an hour of a large city. The big grocery stores might have one isle dedicated to natural foods and some of those will be gluten free. It would be incredible to go down every aisle of a grocery store and find gluten-free items everywhere.