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.
The Committee, led by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), unanimously passed legislation requiring the top 8 allergens -- peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soybeans, shellfish, fish, and wheat -- to be listed on food labels by their common or usual name, or by source of the ingredient.
The measure also requires the Secretary of HHS to develop rules for the use of the term gluten-free on food labels.
The "Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2003" is now Title II of S. 741.
Todays action by the HELP Committee demonstrates that our unified efforts are making a difference. The SINGLE voice of the celiac community was heard, and taken seriously.
All of us deserve credit for getting this far. Next up, the Senate Floor.
Thanks for your help,
Andrea Levario and Allison Herwitt
Co-Chairs, Legislative Project
American Celiac Task Force