2005N-0279 Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods; Public Meeting
FDA Comment Number : EC96
Submitter : Ms. Ellen Feigenbaum Date & Time: 08/19/2005 08:08:19
Organization : Ms. Ellen Feigenbaum
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Having lived with celiac disease for several years now, I understand that a "gluten free" product is one that does not contain, nor is produced anywhere near, ingredients such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, MSG, malt, etc. While doing my food shopping, I read all of the ingredients of a product before I even consider purchasing it. I make sure that all of the ingredients are "safe," and in general I try not to buy products with more than four or five ingredients, unless the product is labeled "gluten free." Unfortunately, there are very few products containing this "gluten free" label. In a regular supermarket, I would say that perhaps 5% of the products are marked "gluten free", and in a health food store, approximately 12%. However, in reality this percentage is not as great as it seems, because there are very few brands offering "gluten free" labels, leaving those who suffer from Celiac Disease little options in regard to price and/or brand preference. When shopping, I generally just grab the brands that I know are marked gluten free (in particular, the brand "Envirokidz," which offers many gluten free cereals and bars), and then leave, because I know that I have few choices in what I eat. Brands such as "Envirokidz" are useful for celiacs, because the "gluten free" label is written clearly on the front of the product, thus assuring that in no way can this product make one sick. There are other brands with "gluten free" labels, however, a significant portion of these foods cannot be consumed by celiacs, because in addition to the "gluten free" label on the container, there is also a label reading "may contain traces of...wheat" or "produced near products containing...wheat, and as any celiac would know, even the smallest possibility of contamination can cause a great deal of pain/suffering/discomfort for us.