2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC72
Submitter : Ms. Mary Vogenberger Date & Time: 08/19/2005 08:08:11
Organization : Ms. Mary Vogenberger
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
'Gluten-Free' on a food label should mean exactly that...100% 'Gluten-Free'. I have celiac disease. Experience has told me that in order to keep well and not sick, I absolutly cannot eat any gluten. I identify foods that do not contain gluten by educating myself, extensively reading food labels, or calling the manufacturer. When I go shoping, most of my time at the store is spent identifying foods I can eat. Even foods that I know are gluten free, I check to be sure the content has not changed. Most foods are not marked 'gluten-free' except for about 10%. Those that are marked 'gluten-free' are mostly found at health-food stores. 'Gluten-Free' printed on a product label most definitely influences my decision to purchase that product over products having the same ingredients listed, about 90% of the time. Many products that contain the same listings as 'gluten free' marked products, can still contain gluten. Ingredients listed as 'spices', 'modified food starch', 'vanilla flavoring', etc can contain gluten. Unless the product is marked 'gluten-free' I usually will not buy it. If I do buy a product that is not marked 'gluten-free', that to me is questonable, I always call the manufacturer to verify that it does not contain gluten. If it is not gluten free I throw it out. Celiacs have to be very cautious in what they eat, to avoid sickness, and a host of other complications. Anemia, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal lymphoma, to name a few, can occur to celiacs from not adhearing to a strict gluten-free diet. Even cross contamination can be a problem with celiacs, if gluten-free products are manufactured in the same plant as gluten containing products. Thus, manditory labeling of ingredients containing gluten and labeling of 'gluten-free' products could help and I think save many people from sickness. At least 1 out of 122 people in the US have celiac disease, which is a big percentage of our population. A good 'Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act' is very much needed in this country not only for those with celiac disease, but people with other allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. I commend the FDA for undertaking to put such a regulation in place.