2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC86
Submitter : Mrs. Kerry Braithwait Date & Time: 08/19/2005 08:08:30
Organization : Mrs. Kerry Braithwait
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Gluten-free on a food label should mean there are no gluten ingredients used in the production of the product. I spend at least four times as much time shopping for food than I did before being diagnosed with celiac because of the need to read several lines of very tiny print on labels. Because it is difficult for me to remember all of the questionable ingredients that 'might' contain gluten it is necessary for me to carry a 24-page gluten ingredient list. I often give up and go straight to the health food section of the store where there are some, usually very expensive, items clearly marked gluten free. I have to keep a food diary in order to keep track of foods that made me ill even though I didn't suspect they had gluten until I searched my gluten list. It is necessary to read the label ingredients each time I buy a product because food makers change ingredients often. I had purchased a certain rice soup for many months and found that it began to make me ill, and discovered that the cans I purchased contained modified food starch. Months later when I checked the labels, they again contained modified corn starch. Although it would be best if foods could be labeled GF, but if a product label would state 'may contain gluten' if the manufacturer isn't sure if their dextrin, food color, flavoring, msg, starch or mono and diglycerides are made with wheat it would save me a lot of time and grief from getting sick. Before our HyVee grocery store started stocking GF products there were no foods on the shelf that were labeled GF. I will purchase a GF marked product with the same ingredients as one not marked GF because I don't trust that other manufacturers check to see what ingredients their suppliers are providing. For instance, if you question Pepsi Company they may state their drinks are gluten free, but do they really check to see what is in the coloring they use? LaChoy bean sprouts contain bean sprouts, water, salt and citric acid....is the citric acid made from wheat? Get the picture?
Celiac isn't fun to live with, but it could sure be easier if foods were labeled clearly.

Kerry Braithwait