2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC305
Submitter : Dr. Claire McSwiney Date & Time: 09/09/2005 05:09:35
Organization : Dr. Claire McSwiney
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Gluten-free on a food label should mean that the product contains no wheat, barley, rye, or oats or any of their derivatives and that the food has not come in contact with any of these over the course of manufacture. I know that these products are used on the belts during manufacture and would not be included in the list of ingredients, which cannot be allowed.
The process of identification can take some time - , if the product is not listed in the CSA guide to products that are safe, it starts with reading the label, then a phone call or e-mail to the manufacturer and explaining that you need to know if there was contamination during production, and then waiting for a response. This takes a lot of time and may not always have satisfying results if you are dealing with someone or a company that doesn't understand.
Most of my gluten-free purchases are from health food stores, although Meijer has recently instituted a small section with these items. Rather than food types labeled gluten-free, you might consider asking which manufacturers do label their products as such. Types that I purchase that are labeled are cookies, cereals, pastas, mixes. It is the really obvious problem products that are marked. The more insidious ones are not-canned fruits, vegetables, dairy items, many prepared foods. About 50% of my purchases are labeled, not including fresh fruits and veggies. Gluten-free on the label does influence my decision to purchase a product because the manufacturers htat do this now are the ones that sell to the allergic community, and I assume that they understand our issues. I would support a two-tier system for labeling of these products

Thank you for your consideration.