2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC519
Submitter : Miss. Annette Arce Date & Time: 09/09/2005 06:09:22
Organization : Miss. Annette Arce
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
I was diagnosed with Celiac disease about two years ago. At the very beginning, it was quite challenging trying to find foods that I could eat without experiencing severe stomach and intesine pain. It was emotionally painful and disappointing to be told that I could not eat the "normal" foods that I used to eat. It was just as difficult to learn to read ingredients on food labels that I did not understand. I was afraid to eat and as a result, did not trust the food labeling and began to unnecessarily lose a lot of weight. It took a very long time and patience to understand what contained gluten, wheat, oat, barley, or rye because the labels were not specific enough for me to feel safe in purchasing the product. My biggest concern for myself and other Celiacs is that we will no longer be misled by food labels if my government takes affirmative action now. Another major problem that I encounter in reading food labels is that other ingredients aside from gluten and wheat or those that affect me as a Celiac are not properly identified. Oftentimes, two different food manufacturers may identify and use different words for the same ingredient that an average consumer may not be able to differentiate. In other words, all food labels should identify gluten and wheat free, as well as ingredients for the layperson/consumer to understand without having to make devasting assumptions. Aside from proper food labeling, perhaps our government can also institute fairer tax incentives for all Celiacs, since the way the tax law is now written, we personally cannot take advantage of a write-off since the deductible is so high. Additionally, since our gluten free foods are so expensive, it can make it difficult for those who do not make a lot of money to purchase these expensive foods for our serious medical and life-threatening disease. Thanks for your consideration to this matter. I look forward to properly labeled foods in the future.