2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC281
Submitter : Mrs. Marie Yearwood Date & Time: 09/01/2005 05:09:54
Organization : Mrs. Marie Yearwood
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
I believe these comments are in the sequence requested
1. If there is only one standard then Gluten Free should mean not even trace amounts or the actual gluten content could be specified. I know some Celiacs are not as sensitive to gluten as others, however, I am not sure that their lack of trace sensitivity means that there is not damage from ingesting gluten.
2. At present we use two methods for identifying foods that are gluten free. (a) By reading the label looking for components that contain gluten or are likely to contain gluten (e.g. soy sauce) and (b) contacting manufacturers directly a number of whom (e.g. drug manufacturers) will not give firm advice due to possible liability issues. We still spend about two hours a week, many years after being on a gluten free diet attempting to identify foods and medications. This is particularly troublesome when contracting some other form of intestinal illness for the first thought is that gluten was inadvertenly ingested.
3. Certainly less than one percent of foods in a super market are labeled gluten free. However, there are a number of specialty suppliers (largely mail order) who cater to those with celiac disease and label their products gluten free.
4. A gluten free label does influence our purchase decision and inasmuch as there is one celiac in the home we purchase the gluten free labeled product over the product without the gluten free label.
5. As for two levels of labeling, this would be more acceptable than the current system of voluntary labeling.

We urge the FDA to require clear gluten labeling on all products to be ingested. Doing so can only improve the health of those with celiac disease.