Celiac Disease & Gluten-free Diet Information at Celiac.com - http://www.celiac.com
Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act - Time to Get Involved!
http://www.celiac.com/articles/575/1/Food-Allergen-Consumer-Protection-Act---Time-to-Get-Involved/Page1.html
Scott Adams

In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease, and since then it has become an invaluable resource to people worldwide who seek information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.

In 1998 I created The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore! which was also another Internet first—it was the first gluten-free food site to offer a shopping cart-style interface, and the ability for people to order gluten-free products manufactured by many different companies at a single Web site.

I am also co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

 
By Scott Adams
Published on 06/2/2002
 
Celiac.com 06/02/2002 Prepared by Laura Yick - There are currently two bills in congress regarding

Celiac.com 06/02/2002 Prepared by Laura Yick - There are currently two bills in congress regarding food labeling that affect people with celiac disease. Both HR 1356 and HR 4704 were introduced by Representative Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) in the House of Representatives. S 2499 is the same as HR 4704 and was introduced by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) in the Senate. It appears that HR 1356 is somewhat conflicting with HR 4704 and is a weaker version with less detail. HR 4704/S 2499 bill looks to be more beneficial for us (we all know the frustrations of having to verify the gluten status of foods, even if they are labeled gluten-free!), as it contains a section that deals with cross-contamination (see p.9 lines 13-25, p.10, and p.11 lines 1-2). HR 4704/S 2499 is under the control of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, however, the enforcement of cross-contamination labeling is not clear. You can compare them for yourself by going to the US Congress websites listed below. Here is a summary of each bill and a listing of the committee and subcommittee members who have control over the fate of the bills:

House Bill H.R.1356

Sponsor: Rep Lowey, Nita M.(introduced 4/3/2001)
Title: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require that foods containing spices, flavoring, or coloring derived from meat, poultry, other animal products (including insects), or known allergens bear labeling stating that fact and their names.

SUMMARY AS OF: 4/3/2001--Introduced.
Food Ingredient Right to Know Act
Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide that a food shall be deemed to be misbranded if it contains any spice, flavoring, or coloring derived from meat, poultry, any other animal product (including insects), or a known food allergen unless its labeling bears a statement with appropriate prominence on the information panel providing that fact and the name of the meat, poultry, other animal product, or known food allergen.

STATUS:
4/3/2001: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (see below for list of committee members).
4/25/2001: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health (see below for list of subcommittee members).
07/29/2002: The food Allergen Bill S.2499 has been rescheduled for discussion after the August recess.

House Bill H.R.4704

Sponsor: Rep Lowey, Nita M.(introduced 5/9/2002)
Title: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish labeling requirements regarding allergenic substances in food, and for other purposes.

STATUS: (color indicates Senate actions)
5/9/2002: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
5/17/2002: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

Senate Bill S.2499

Sponsor: Sen. Kennedy, Edward M.(introduced 5/9/2002)
Title: A Bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish labeling requirements regarding allergenic substances in food, and for other purposes.
STATUS:
5/9/2002: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The current laws of the United States can be found at:
http://law2.house.gov/download.htm

Note that HR 4704 and S 2499 have exactly the same wording except for the sponsors. Bills in committees or subcommittees have three fates: (1) Tabled (i.e., they are essentially postponed, possibly forever), (2) Releasing it for a full House or Senate vote with a recommendation to pass it, (3) Revised and then released as in (2). Bills in committees also may be referred to subcommittees within the committee. It is possible that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions may refer S 2499 to the Subcommittee on Public Health. The bill needs to pass with a simple majority (218 of 435 in the House, 26 of 50 in the Senate). The bill then goes to the other congressional body where the process begins again. Once both the House and Senate pass the bill, any differences between the House version and Senate version must be worked out by a conference committee of both House and Senate members. Then the bill must finally be approved by both the House and Senate. Because HR 4704 and S 2499 are concurrent, the entire process may be faster than if only one body of Congress were working on it. Finally, the President needs to approve it; otherwise, the bill goes back to the House and Senate and must pass by a 2/3 majority in both.

If your representative or senator is listed below on a committee and/or subcommittee that is reviewing a bill, it is important that you request them to speed the committee recommendation of the bill to the full House or Senate vote and to ensure that it is not weakened. If your representative or senator is not on one of the committees or subcommittees, you could still urge them to support the speedy passage of the bills. Speedy passage is essential because there is a clause that gives a four year grace period.

Politically, it may be especially effective for you to write your congress people regarding these bills if they are up for re-election, or if they are seeking higher office in an upcoming election, but any e-mail to your representatives will be helpful. To see who your representative is:
http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.html
To write your representative:
http://www.house.gov/writerep/
To see who your senators are:
http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm
To write your senators:
http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm


Tips from the GIG on writing your letters or e-mails:

  • Address the Congressman as Honorable.
  • Keep the letter to one page.
  • Stay on the message - The passage of Representative Lowey and Senator Kennedy Bill, the Food Allergen Consumer Protection Act is important to the health and safety of thousands of persons suffering from allergies and intolerances.
  • Use the language used in the Bill ...gluten and allergens, not celiac disease.
  • Tell them what you want -- for them to support passage of this Bill.
  • Sharing a bad experience and how passage of this bill would have made a difference can be helpful...but keep it brief.
  • Remind them you follow their votes and that you appreciate their support.
  • Sign your name, provide your full address, and phone number.

The names of Subcommittee and Committee Members who control the fate of these bills. We can make a difference with our letters and e-mail to them:

The current House Committee on Energy and Commerce:
W. J. Billy Tauzin, Chairman
Michael Bilirakis, Florida
Joe Barton, Texas
Fred Upton, Michigan
Cliff Stearns, Florida
Paul E. Gillmor, Ohio
James C. Greenwood, Pennsylvania
Christopher Cox, California
Nathan Deal, Georgia
Richard Burr, North Carolina, Vice Chairman
Ed Whitfield, Kentucky
Greg Ganske, Iowa
Charlie Norwood, Georgia
Barbara Cubin, Wyoming
John Shimkus, Illinois
Heather Wilson, New Mexico
John B. Shadegg, Arizona
Charles Chip Pickering, Mississippi
Vito Fossella, New York
Roy Blunt, Missouri
Thomas Davis, Virginia
Ed Bryant, Tennessee
Robert Ehrlich, Maryland
Steve Buyer, Indiana
George Radanovich, California
Charles F. Bass, New Hampshire
Joseph Pitts, Pennsylvania
Mary Bono, California
Greg Walden, Oregon
Lee Terry, Nebraska
Ernie Fletcher, Kentucky
John D. Dingell, Michigan, Ranking Member
Henry A. Waxman, California
Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts
Ralph M. Hall, Texas
Rick Boucher, Virginia
Edolphus Towns, New York
Frank Pallone Jr., New Jersey
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Bart Gordon, Tennessee
Peter Deutsch, Florida
Bobby L. Rush, Illinois
Anna G. Eshoo, California
Bart Stupak, Michigan
Eliot L. Engel, New York
Tom Sawyer, Ohio
Albert R. Wynn, Maryland
Gene Green, Texas
Karen McCarthy, Missouri
Ted Strickland, Ohio
Diana DeGette, Colorado
Tom Barrett, Wisconsin
Bill Luther, Minnesota
Lois Capps, California
Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania
Chris John, Louisiana
Jane Harman, California

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health:
Michael Bilirakis, Florida, Chairman
Joe Barton, Texas
Fred Upton, Michigan
James C. Greenwood, Pennsylvania
Nathan Deal, Georgia
Richard Burr, North Carolina
Ed Whitfield, Kentucky
Greg Ganske, Iowa
Charlie Norwood, Georgia, Vice Chairman
Barbara Cubin, Wyoming
Heather Wilson, New Mexico
John B. Shadegg, Arizona
Charles W. Chip Pickering, Mississippi
Ed Bryant, Tennessee
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., Maryland
Steve Buyer, Indiana
Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania
W.J. Billy Tauzin, Louisiana
Sherrod Brown, Ohio, Ranking Member
Henry A. Waxman, California
Ted Strickland, Ohio
Tom Barrett, Wisconsin
Lois Capps, California
Ralph M. Hall, Texas
Edolphus Towns, New York
Frank Pallone, Jr., New Jersey
Peter Deutsch, Florida
Anna G. Eshoo, California
Bart Stupak, Michigan
Eliot L. Engel, New York
Albert R. Wynn, Maryland
Gene Green, Texas
John D. Dingell, Michigan

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions:
Edward M. Kennedy, MA, Chairman
Christopher Dodd, CT
Tom Harkin, IA
Barbara Mikulski, MD
James Jeffords, VT
Jeff Bingaman, NM
Paul Wellstone, MN
Patty Murray, WA
Jack Reed, RI
John Edwards, NC
Hillary Clinton, NY
Judd Gregg, NH, Ranking Member
Bill Frist, TN
Mike Enzi, WY
Tim Hutchinson, AR
John Warner, VA
Christopher Bond, MO
Pat Roberts, KS
Susan Collins, ME
Jeff Sessions, AL
Mike DeWine, OH

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Public Health:
Edward M. Kennedy, MA, Chairman
Tom Harkin, IA
Barbara Mikulski, MD
James Jeffords, VT
Jeff Bingaman, NM
Paul Wellstone, MN
Jack Reed, RI
John Edwards, NC
Hillary Clinton, NY
Judd Gregg, NH,
Bill Frist, TN
Michael Enzi, WY
Tim Hutchinson, AR
Christopher Bond, MO
Pat Roberts, KS
Susan Collins, ME
Jeff Sessions, AL