2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC825
Submitter : Mrs. Charity Grahame Date & Time: 09/13/2005 07:09:15
Organization : Mrs. Charity Grahame
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
To Whom It May Concern,

Gluten-free on a label should mean that the product has absolutely no amount of gluten in it. As a celiac I am not allowed to have any gluten in my diet, not even trace amounts. I currently identify foods that do not contain gluten by reading ingredients or checking a smartlist. It takes a lot of time to identify gluten-free foods when shopping which I cannot do now with young children. I would guess that it now takes me double the time to shop when needing to find a product that I can use. About 25% of the foods I currently buy are clearly marked "gluten-free" which means that 75% of my shopping is searching and guesswork. The terms "gluten-free" on a label definitely influences my decision to purchase one brand over another. I will usually choose the item marked "gluten-free" even when it costs a little more since I know for certain that I'm getting a safer product. Sadly, I have had to stop purchasing several items from one generic brand since they do not have a list of gluten-free foods and do not always clearly mark when a product is gluten-free. At this time I would not find it acceptable to mark products with levels of gluten (i.e. level A, B, or C) since from my understanding of celiac disease it is not acceptable to have even trace amounts ingested. Should scientists determine in the future that minimal amounts of gluten are allowable, then labeling with levels would be helpful. Anything you can do to encourage manufacturers to label gluten-free or define when gluten is present will be extremely helpful to those who now have to focus much time on the food we eat. Food is a necessity of life and having to "hunt" in stores makes it very difficult to live like everyone else. Thank you for your time and considerations.

Charity Grahame