2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC312
Submitter : Mrs. Ginger Beall Date & Time: 09/09/2005 05:09:15
Organization : Mrs. Ginger Beall
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1. A food label stating "gluten-free" should mean zero gluten because that is the only 'safe' amount of gluten for a celiac to consume...none.
2. I identify gluten-containing foods by reading labels. Not an easy task because currently gluten goes by many names - Natural Flavors, modified food starch, hydrolized protein, etc....who would think that such items equal gluten? Only very informed celiacs who take the vast amounts of time to do the research and can find the necessary information manage to avoid gluten through label-reading in our current world. I personally spend between 5 - 10 hours a week either researching foods and/or actually reading labels as I shop.
3. Less than 5% of the foods I purchase are labeled "gluten-free". They are generally of the bread or cereal variety. I have found a salad dressing that states "gluten-free" on its label.
4. When a product states it is "gluten-free" I am definitely influenced to purchase it over a comparable product with the same ingredients. I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that notation to mean not only that the product inherently contains no wheat, barley, rye or oats, but that it has been prepared and packaged in an environment where contamination by gluten is impossible.
Improvements in "gluten-free" labeling would vastly improve my quality of life. The time I must devote to ensuring my own physical well-being by hyper-vigilance to the presence of gluten in my foods could be better spent attending to the needs of my spouse who is afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease, and my 92-year-old mother who shares our home. I am hopeful of a future wherein I, and other celiacs, can freely roam the aisles of local stores and easily find products that are safe for us to consume.