2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC606
Submitter : Ms. Carrol Gury Date & Time: 09/12/2005 06:09:36
Organization : Ms. Carrol Gury
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1. "Gluten-free" should mean having the gluten content of such foods as close to zero as possible. Why? Because even small amounts of gluten make some gluten-intolerant people sick and also causes intestinal damage.
2. I identify foods that do not contain gluten by reading the content label. If the label has vague, useless terms such as "modified food starch", "natural flavors", "caramel coloring" etc., I either call the manufacturer or look up the product on their website. This takes hours of my precious time. Frequently, I put things back on the grocery shelf and just do without it. Of course, the manufacturer does without my grocery dollars.
3. Only about 5% of the food I purchase is marked "gluten-free", because there is not much that is marked this way. I wish there were more. It would make my shopping easier, and I would purchase a greater variety of foods. The foods marked "gluten-free" that I do purchase include the following: bread, pasta, pizza, cereal, soy sauce, soups, broths, crackers, cookies, boxed and frozen dinners.
4. If one product is marked "gluten-free" and a similar product is not marked, but both have the same ingredients listed, I will NOT be influenced to purchase the item not marked "gluten-free". Two products may appear to have the same ingredients, but the ingredients could come from different starch sources. For example, the modified food starch in one product could come from naturally "gluten-free" tapioca starch while another product could have come from gluten-laden wheat, rye or barley starch. I want the product to state that it is "gluten free" and be gluten free.
5. Regarding the proposal for a multi-level marking system, this might be acceptable. One level must be completely "gluten free". A second level documenting trace amounts at a clearly stated low parts-per-million level might be useful. I am not sure whether I would buy food from a third level with a higher parts-per-million because I am not willing to risk an adverse reaction.