2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC788
Submitter : Mrs. Sima Swearingen Date & Time: 09/13/2005 06:09:35
Organization : NA
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
(1) Gluten Free should mean that there are no ingredients inside that contain Gluten. It should also mean that procedures are in place that rule out even the slightest possibility of ?cross contamination?.

The objective is to prevent serious and life threatening illness as well as profound and long lasting suffering.

(2) It is often difficult to identify foods that contain gluten. Many foods that do not ordinarily contain gluten, have gluten added during packaging or before packaging. We spend perhaps 20 hours every week trying to identify hidden gluten sources. We prefer to stick to foods that we know do not contain gluten rather than take a chance on something with questionable ingredients.

(3) Almost none of the items that we purchase in the regular stores are labeled gluten free. Perhaps 3% of the foods purchased at the health food store are labeled gluten free. We shop for gluten free food over the internet at the Gluten Free mall, almost all of which are labeled Gluten Free. Those items are considerably more expensive and we pay shipping.

(4) Given the choice, we will always purchase the product that says gluten free rather than a similar product with identical ingredients. At least we know that the producer of the one labeled gluten free knows what gluten is.

(5) NO, A two level standard for labeling gluten is not necessary. It would also be too confusing.

Celiac patients already suffer from ?unawareness? by friends, family and the general public. This would only increase the ?unawareness? or more likely increase the likelihood of being fed food containing gluten by well meaning friends, family, and restaurants that think that ?a little bit is OK?

The label Gluten Free should be designed for celiac patients only. It should mean that the product contains absolutely no wheat, rye, barley, etc. and that every precaution has been taken to prevent cross contamination. This will cover 100% of the needs of the Celiac patients.

A reduced level measurement is too confusing for everyone and does not help the celiac patient very much.

I am a 54 year old women who has been diagnosed 7 months ago. I sought help all of my adult life. At this point in my illness, even the most minute amount of gluten causes me pain and suffering that is more a human should have to endure. Unfortunately for me, the smallest amount of gluten is intolerable, and I have to believe that there are many others just like me. I have been unlucky enough to not be diagnosed in time. Now I am asking the full consideration for people who are sick like I am in the help that is needed in buying food.