2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC917
Submitter : Mrs. Bea Herbkersman Date & Time: 09/14/2005 05:09:48
Organization : Celiac Sprue Association
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
1. "Gluten free" should be clearly written on the label when gluten is not present in any form and is accurate. Trace elements of gluten or possible contamination through processing should be listed to inform the consumer. It is important for celiacs to have no gluten. List on the label what specific wheat, rye, oats, or barley derivatives are used in the product, e.g. if vinegar is listed as an ingredient, then list what kind of vinegar is used, grain based, red wine, balsamic, or apple cider. Be specific about the "modified food starch" used; list the ingredient of the grain base or the corn base.
2. I spend many hours reading, researching, and studying food labels and definitions of food additives so I can accurately read the labels and decide if a product contains gluten. If I am unsure, then I do not eat it. Since I have been diagnosed with celiac disease, I have found that this is a very time consuming task. Information on labels that list all the common allergens, for example, peanut, soy, lactose, would be helpful to newly diagnosed celiacs and also individuals with related food allergies. I look for the gluten free label but I also cook many of my foods from the basic ingredients. I have learned to avoid processed foods and many mixes, sauces, condiments.
3. Inform restaurant staff and food processing facilities to prevent contamination of the cooking oils and other kitchen areas during the food production process. I look for notices on the labels to check if the food was manufactured or processed in a gluten free facility. I find a very small percentage of products that are clearly marked with a gluten free label.
4. "Gluten free" on the label definitely influences my consumer choices. All medicines, prescriptions, and over-the-counter products should contain clearly labeled notices about the food allergens. Pharmacists, doctors, and all health care professionals should be more alert for possible allergens.
Food labels would increase awareness and provide needed information to relatives and friends trying to cook for family members.
5. Cosmetics, snack items, chewing gum, shampoos, etc. should also be labeled as gluten free when appropriate.