2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC79
Submitter : Miss. Alicia Karnes Date & Time: 08/19/2005 08:08:55
Organization : Miss. Alicia Karnes
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1) Gluten-free on a food label should mean 100% wheat, oat, barley and rye free. Gluten can also hide in many processed foods that do not specify the above grains. Every individual ingredient should be inspected carefully to ensure that it does not contain the protein gluten. It is extremely difficult for people living with celiac sprue and in my case, dermatitis herpetiformis as well, to find food that is not going to hurt our bodies. The ingredients label may not specify that the product contains the above grains, but I also have to worry about certain preservatives, oils, hydrogenized oils, etc. that may contain gluten. Also, gluten-free should also mean processed in a gluten-free environment. Processing gluten-free foods using gluten contaminated utensils can also contaminate the gluten-free foods making them no longer gluten-free.

2) Its difficult to identify foods that are gluten-free unless specified. I usually have to contact the manufacturer and demand to know if gluten was used. Sometimes I will get to speak to a live operator that offers me information right away. Other times, it can take up to a couple of days for somebody to contact me back. By then, I will lose interest in the product and will probably never buy it for fear that it contains gluten.

3) I would have to say that 75% of all foods that I purchase are marked gluten-free. I have contacted manufacturers on items that do not specify gluten-free and requested specific gluten-free information for the other 25% of foods that I purchase. I must specify to the manufacturer that it is regarding a severe food allergy to make them understand that it is not just some strange diet that I am following.

4) Reading Gluten-free on a label doesn't influence me to buy other foods with same ingredients. I will try ANY food that specifies gluten-free since there isn't a huge selection of food for people like me. I am willing to try any kind of ingredient substitution to gluten. They are so many substitutions for gluten foods being manufactured all the time. I want to take advantage of all of them, since I don't have much of a choice in this gluten-obsessed world.