2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC526
Submitter : Mrs. Susan Balsley Date & Time: 09/09/2005 06:09:33
Organization : Mrs. Susan Balsley
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
I have had Celiac Sprue for 20 years and rely on labeling of everything I eat.

1) 'Gluten-free' on a food label should mean without any detectable gluten from wheat, oats, rye or barley. Any detectable amount can be harmful to people with gluten intolerance (celiac sprue).
2) To identify foods that do not contain gluten I read every word describing ingredients and am aware of certain forbidden ingredients such as 'starch' or 'hydrolyzed vegetable protein' that might contain gluten. This is very time-consuming since dangerous ingredients can appear in anything, including foods you might think were 'safe' such as corn flakes or corn chips or rice crackers. Also, even though a particular brand of a particular food has been safe in the past, you have to read the label each time since manufacturers often change their ingredients. This means it takes about twice as long to shop for anything.
3) About 1/3 of what I eat is marked 'gluten-free'. This includes bread, crackers, cookies, granola bars and cereals. For the rest of my diet I spend time reading labels.
4) Having 'gluten-free' printed on a product label greatly influences my decision to purchase a product having the same ingredients as other food. I have faith that the gluten-free label will not be on a product that is not safe for me to eat. It is an extra level of security above reading ingredient lists and hoping that none of the ingredients was contaminated with gluten while being ground into flour or processed in some other way.

It is especially important to me that medication also carry the same 'gluten-free' labeling as food. As it is now I need to call the drug manufacturer to be sure that there is no gluten-containing or gluten-contaminated filler present in any drug I need.