2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC528
Submitter : Ms. Deb Mailand Date & Time: 09/09/2005 06:09:48
Organization : Celiac Sprue Association
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
To Whom It May Concern,
I am an active seventeen year old student recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. My life has been altered forever as I now must carefully control every crumb that enters my body. This has proven to be a daunting task.
When I see a product labeled "gluten free", I feel confident I can eat that product without getting sick. This means none of the ingredients contained gluten or came into contact with anything containin gluten, the machinery used processes only gluten free products, the surrounding air was gluten, and the final food product was tested for any trace of gluten. These standards ensure the acceptability of that food item in my diet.
Currently, I read dozens of food labels daily and hope for the accuracy of the ingredient list and cross my fingers that the food has not been contaminated with gluten. My mom and I spend about two hours a week searching for gluten free food and are often very discouraged.
Very few of the foods we purchase are labeled "gluten free". Cereals, pastas, and breadmixes purchased at a specialty store are the products I purchase labeled "gluten free". It would be wonderful to find soups, snacks, sauces, processed meats and cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, and medicines labeled "gluten free" Also, because I am a teenager personal hygiene products are important to me. Items like toothpaste, mouthwash, make up, and hair products should also be labeled "gluten free" if in fact they are gluten free.
Seeing a product labeled "gluten free" absolutely influences whether or not I will buy that item (often I will) over other products because I assume the manufacturer is guaranteeing me I will not get sick or have other side effects related to Celiac Disease.
Varied degrees of gluten free labeling is not acceptable. A product is either 100% gluten free, or it is not. There is no in between.
I appreciate your efforts in keeping me a healthy, active, and productive teenager. Please consider my comments as you define "gluten free". My health and future are on the line.
Deb Mailand