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  • Gryphon Myers
    Gryphon Myers

    Petition for Gluten-Free Labeling on White House Website

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 10/08/2012 - Since 2004 when Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, sufferers of celiac disease have awaited some sort of finalized action from the FDA to set a rule for gluten-free labeling. The FDA proposed a gluten-free food labeling rule in 2007 and since then, there have been multiple open comment periods for it, but as of yet, there has been no finalized action to control gluten-free labeling in food products. In an effort to expedite this process, “Jennifer I” of Sebastopol, CA started a petition on the White House's official website.

    white_house-CC_Serge_Melki.jpgPart of the concern driving this petition stems from the fact that for many, the gluten-free diet is one of necessity, not of choice. 'Gluten-free' has become something of a new marketing buzzword, as the diet's popularity has grown dramatically in recent years. This makes labeling more important than ever: companies seeking to cash in on a growing market may be tempted to cut corners and label products as gluten-free, when in fact they are not.

    Supposedly, the FDA will be finalizing their rule sometime this year. Whether or not they stick to that time frame, this petition is a quick and easy way of putting more pressure on the federal government to finalize a gluten-free labeling rule.

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    In Canada our federal government finally dealt with this 'gluten-free' labelling problem - it was a half-hearted effort in my opinion because lobbyists derailed most of the specific requirements.As a result, manufacturers are still able to use "may" or "can" contain gluten - there does not appear to be any teeth to the legislation/regulations - so celiacs are marginally better off than before. I sincerely hope your government will continue Sen. Kennedy's efforts and withstand the lobby groups so that your regulations/laws are more stringent!

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    On the FDA web page they explain why they are taking so long. They have been doing a lot of studies to try to get this correct. The results of which are very interesting. The point most interesting to me as an extremely sensitive celiac is that how can they certify for less than 5ppm without the testing device that can register 0ppm. Good point! So even if dedicated gluten-free, there is no guarantee that the flours came from dedicated facilities and there is no test to guarantee that... hmmmm... I have given up on refined flours for this very reason.

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    This is such an important topic for those of us who MUST maintain a gluten-free diet. I just want to know as much as possible regarding the manufacturing process, then I can make an informed choice. My family is confused when I tell them a product labelled 'GLUTEN FREE' may actually contain more gluten than one that is not labelled, but has source ingredients and manufacturing processes that create an intrinsically gluten-free product.

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  • About Me

    Gryphon Myers recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, research emphasis in art, society and technology. He is a lifelong vegetarian, an organic, local and GMO-free food enthusiast and a high fructose corn syrup abstainer. He currently lives in Northern California. He also writes about and designs video games at Homunkulus.

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