2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC306
Submitter : Ms. Joan Katz Date & Time: 09/09/2005 05:09:08
Organization : Ms. Joan Katz
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1. Gluten free food labeling should indicate foods with no gluten content or crosscontamination. This way we will know it is safe to eat.

2. Trying to identify foods that are gluten free is extrememly time consuming! First I read labels. If the food is labeled gluten free, fantastic, it goes in my shopping cart and I am happy. If it clearly contains gluten by ingredients, I am grateful the manufacturer was honest and I return it to the shelf. If the ingredients look promising, I then call the 800 number or go home and look at the website, sometimes having to email, to find out if in fact there are no not-obvious gluten ingredients or crosscontamination. It is very difficult to shop without a cell phone or after hours. Most companies are very accomodating, but it is extrememy time consuming. I am happiest at the companies with clear labeling policies regarding gluten sources. My average grocery store trip has doubled or tripled in time. I cannot send friend or relative to the store with a shopping list. At first, I spent hours a week on shopping and research. Now?four years later?I probably only spend 10 minutes for every hour of shopping on research. It is also frustrating that when we are guests in someone?s home, it is so difficult to describe what they can buy to serve. Note that I was a sophisticated label reader already.
3. I look for gluten free labeling on any food product. Bread, baked goods, and pastas purchased are 100% marked gluten free. Other products, if marked, are extrememly likely to be purchased as a taste trial at least once. However, I would say that less than 5% are marked GF. I would like to see this label on everything form soda to pasta sauce to canned corn. (I shop Trader joe?s frequenty because this information is available and makes shopping so easy.)
4. A gluten free label on a product vs the ingredients and no GF label: I would choose the GF labeled product every single time! I want to be able to without worrying about the food. I also want my child ?or a host or a teacher?to be able to look at a package and know if it is OK.
5. A tiered system would be acceptable only if it was very clear that GLUTEN FREE, is different than say 'trace amounts.' This would help those with allergies or on autism diets rather than with celiac. However, marking those other categories as GF would be misleading.

Thank you for making this effort to help us stay healthy!