2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC38
Submitter : Mr. William Kutschera Date & Time: 08/15/2005 05:08:41
Organization : Mr. William Kutschera
Category : Food Industry
Issue Areas/Comments
To Whom It May Concern: I am a celiac diagnosed in March of 2005. In order to avoid the devastating effects of gluten contamination, I must be able to select foods that are labeled 'gluten-free'. Currently, this is optional for food processing companies and I avoid many foods that may be gluten-free but are not so labeled. "Gluten-Free" on a label must mean that the food contains no gluten and is not manufactured, processed and/or does not come into contact with any gluten-containing food or surface used in the preparation of gluten-containing foods or ingredients.

My wife and I must e.mail each company that produces a food we wish to purchase and ask them if the food meets the above criteria. Quite often we do not receive any response or a disclaimed response stating that the food is gluten-free but is processed in a plant that also processes gluten- containing foods so the absence of gluten cannot be assured.

We only purchase foods which we are sure are gluten free by label proclamation or corporate response to e.mails assuring us of the gluten-free status of the products. It makes shopping extremely difficult.

Exposure or contamination by eating foods that contain even the slightest traces of gluten result in severe gastric distress that will eventually lead to my need for a colostomy. This can be avoided if the FDA enacts legislation that requires all food manufacturers and processors to disclose, accurately, the absence of gluten in their products. All products marked 'gluten-free' in the ingredient panel will make it possible for celiacs/gluten-intolerant people to purchase those foods that will not aggravate this potentially life-threatening condition.

It is not my intent, nor that of any other celiacs that I know, to place undue burdens on food manufacturers and/or processors. We would just like to have the same type of disclaimers on food products that warn those allergic to peanuts for the sake of their health.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request for the enactment of legislation that will require gluten disclosure on products that contain it or may have been contaminated with it.

Sincerely yours,

William F. Kutschera
2310 Gregory Lane
Anderson, IN 46012