2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC569
Submitter : Mrs. Nancy Piersma Date & Time: 09/12/2005 06:09:06
Organization : Mrs. Nancy Piersma
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
I am writing to you on behalf of my 3-year-old grandson Caleb, who was recently diagnosed with celiac disease. As you know, this means that even small amounts of ingested gluten produce damage to his small intestine. The condition is actually an autoimmune response--far more serious than an allergy. We are thankful that Caleb has been diagnosed early, and therefore can look forward to a normal life, as long as gluten is entirely eliminated from his diet.

Thank you, first of all, for the much-improved food labels we now have. I appreciate reading them, and knowing what I am eating.

In addition to what is already included in such labeling, it would be so helpful to have gluten-free products labeled as such; the alternative is to individually phone each manufacturer to verify that a product is free of gluten. This is very time-consuming, especially for my daughter-in-law who has 3 other young children 7 and under to care for in addition to Caleb. We have many products labeled 'fat free' and 'sugar free' so it would seem that labeling a product 'gluten free' wouldn't be all that difficult. It is estimated that one in 133 Americans has celiac disease, so I'm sure many others agree with my feelings. Could you consider adding the words 'gluten free' to those products which qualify for that status?

Thank you for your time.

Nancy Piersma