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sunshinen

Send Comments To Fda On New Labeling Guidelines

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Many of us have discussed concerns with the following section of the the new proposal:

to deem misbranded a food bearing a gluten-free claim in its labeling if the food is inherently free of gluten and if the claimed does not refer to all foods of that same type (e.g., "milk, a gluten-free food" or "all milk is gluten-free").

I for one would be happy if everything that is gluten-free clearly said so--eggs, apples, milk--everything. And I don't want companies to have to make qualifiers to put the label on them. I also think a statement saying "all milk is gluten-free" is inherently dangerous because it gives us a false sense of security that we can pick up any carton of milk and expect it to be gluten-free. As we all have learned, companies add gluten to the strangest things and nothing should be considered gluten-free until proven otherwise. Telling companies they cannot make claims that some types of foods are gluten-free w/o some sort of qualifier seems like it will just make our lives more difficult.

Fortunately, we can still let the decisionmakers hear these and other concerns!

Submission of comments should be identified by Docket No. 2005N-0279. Comments can be electronically submitted at http://www.regulations.gov or at http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments. Comments can also be submitted by fax to 301-827-6870 or mailed to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fisher Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852


Gluten-Free since February 2006

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Awesome! Thanks!

Sent in my comments.

Looking at

http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/E7-843.htm

It looks as if what we really want is " 5. Option Five: Take the Proposed Action, Except Delete Wording

Requirements for Gluten-Free Claims on Foods That Inherently Do Not

Contain Gluten"

Thanks for posting that!

Geoff


Celiac - Gluten Free since Late December 2006

Positive Dietary response, biopsy, Enterolab

Lactose intolerant - dietary response test only

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I prefer the fact that manufacturers can't imply that their brand of normally gluten free items are special because they are gluten free, as this sort of thing could mislead folks new to the diet, on the periphery of the diet, or who don't pay as close attention as those who take the time to stay informed. Not to mention false implications leading to false competitive advantages... But I do understand why someone might want to have everything labeled. The trick with that is that labels could get very long indeed, however, when you start taking all the special interests into account, as we are just one of hundreds.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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I prefer the fact that manufacturers can't imply that their brand of normally gluten free items are special because they are gluten free, as this sort of thing could mislead folks new to the diet, on the periphery of the diet, or who don't pay as close attention as those who take the time to stay informed. Not to mention false implications leading to false competitive advantages... But I do understand why someone might want to have everything labeled. The trick with that is that labels could get very long indeed, however, when you start taking all the special interests into account, as we are just one of hundreds.

I agree that it would seem silly for say, a milk company or an egg company to label their stuff gluten free. But what about a spaghetti sauce? There is no reason it needs wheat, but I'd sure feel better if it was labeled.

I guess I just feel that I'd like them to err on the side of too many labels. And having threatened companies with a "mislabeling" charge if foods are inherently gluten free seems like it could create as much confusion as it solves.

Geoff


Celiac - Gluten Free since Late December 2006

Positive Dietary response, biopsy, Enterolab

Lactose intolerant - dietary response test only

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I guess I just feel that I'd like them to err on the side of too many labels. And having threatened companies with a "mislabeling" charge if foods are inherently gluten free seems like it could create as much confusion as it solves.

Actually, if you read the text from the link left here, it's not at all clear that they would require this for anything other than things that are *INHERENTLY* gluten free. Single ingredient items that really can't have gluten in them, types of things. So things like jarred pasta sauce, with multiple ingredients, would not fall under this category at all. (I find it interesting they call butter single ingredient... it should be, but it isn't these days. ;) )

Examples of foods that

inherently do not contain gluten include, but are not limited to:

Different types of milk not flavored with ingredients that

contain gluten (e.g., fresh fluid whole, low fat and nonfat milks;

evaporated milk; nonfat dry milk; sweetened condensed milk);

100 percent fruit or vegetable juices; fresh fruits and

vegetables that are not coated with a wax or resin that contains

gluten; and frozen or canned fruits and vegetables not made with added

ingredients that contain gluten; and

A variety of single ingredient foods, e.g., butter; eggs;

lentils; legumes like dried beans and peas, peanuts, and soybeans;

seeds like flax, poppy and sesame; tree nuts like almonds, pecans, and

walnuts; non-gluten containing grains like corn, millet and rice; fresh

fish like cod, flounder and haddock; fresh shellfish like clams,

lobster, and octopus; honey; and water, including bottled waters like

distilled and spring.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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I can see both sides of this discussion, but while it seems silly to label whole eggs as gluten free (since they come pre-packaged by mother nature), I am concerned that other "inherently gluten free" foods don't necessarily remain gluten free through the manufacturing process.

Example #1 for concern: 100% fruit juices are considered naturally gluten free. The last I looked, however, (which was not today) some Tropicana orange juices are only gluten free if they are from specific facilities (determined by the first few digits of the lot #)

Example #2 for concern: Isn't wheat flour sometimes used on conveyor systems, etc. as foods are being packaged? I thought that was the problem with a certain brand of miniature candy bars. I understand that a candy bar would not be "inherently gluten free." So that's not the strongest example, but I think it illustrates well enough my cause for concern.

If one of the "no labeling for inherently gluten free foods" versions of the FDA proposal is adopted, How could we ever be comfortable that the food isn't contaminated, (or commingled) during processing/packaging?

This is an honest concern/question. Is there information that clarifies this?

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Jaten, I think what you've pointed out ends up being a niggling little loophole. :)

It could well be a valid concern. My reading of the rules led me to believe that #1 wouldn't be a problem, because the gluten would have to be added by an ingredient that wasn't the fruit that was being juiced. (In the case of Tropicana, I think it involved an additive. I recall there being an ingredient list on those.)

#2 is more ambiguous, and while the whole "not including fruit with resin coatings" (wacky example, by the way) makes me believe that they do care about processing, I think this could be an oversight, and would have to be fleshed out further.

I hope you submit your comments to them, as they're good additional concerns to address through clarifications!


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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Jaten, I think what you've pointed out ends up being a niggling little loophole. :)

It could well be a valid concern. My reading of the rules led me to believe that #1 wouldn't be a problem, because the gluten would have to be added by an ingredient that wasn't the fruit that was being juiced. (In the case of Tropicana, I think it involved an additive. I recall there being an ingredient list on those.)

#2 is more ambiguous, and while the whole "not including fruit with resin coatings" (wacky example, by the way) makes me believe that they do care about processing, I think this could be an oversight, and would have to be fleshed out further.

I hope you submit your comments to them, as they're good additional concerns to address through clarifications!

Tarnalberry, according to Clan Thompson, you are correct on the Tropicana OJ. According to them, all Tropicana 100% Orange Juice IS gluten free. I'll verify with Tropicana. Thank you!

Regarding, "not including fruit with resin coatings." If that were the wording we'd be ok. The wording is "fresh fruits and vegetables that are not coated with a wax or resin that contains gluten" I don't know why resin or waxy coatings would contain gluten....but then I don't know why many products do.

So the legislation may be worded so that, say, apples which are inherently gluten free would not be able to carry the gluten free label. Correct? But then Company XYZ adds gluten to their waxy coating because ....well, who knows why. But they do. So now, apples which are inherently gluten free don't have the gluten free label, but Company XYZ (who doesn't have to declare gluten....it's voluntary) doesn't disclose that their apples have been coated with a gluten-containing substance.

Ahhh, yes, the "niggling loopholes."

Thank you. Yes, I do plan to send my concern to the FDA through the channels they've made available.

This should not cause widespread panic. I hesitated to even bring these concerns here. I do think it's a concern that all Celiacs need to consider, though. I hope others will consider bringing this concern to the attention of the FDA, the CSA, and any support groups that might assist in gaining attention/clarification for this concern. There's power in numbers.

My additional 2 cents: Personally, I would like to see companies "allowed" to label even "inherently gluten free" foods as gluten free without too much hardship or loss of label real estate. If they are allowed to claim it, and choose to do so, then I don't have to wonder what's in their waxy coating or on their conveyors. All companies may not choose to do so. But I bet some would, and those that do would get my business!

I know the FDA has said that it is, but I don't see it being the same as naturally fat free or cholesterol free foods. I don't think those are significantly included during a simple packaging process. But we all know that gluten sometimes is used and what a minute amount it takes to make us very ill.

I think this just deserves a heads up.

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I prefer the fact that manufacturers can't imply that their brand of normally gluten free items are special because they are gluten free, as this sort of thing could mislead folks new to the diet, on the periphery of the diet, or who don't pay as close attention as those who take the time to stay informed. Not to mention false implications leading to false competitive advantages... But I do understand why someone might want to have everything labeled. The trick with that is that labels could get very long indeed, however, when you start taking all the special interests into account, as we are just one of hundreds.

My take is that I would much rather give the competitive advantage to those companies looking to help us out and err on the side of over-precaution than under. It is precisely the new people that I think would benefit from over-labeling. I have been at this a year and still buy frozen veggies that for some reason have wheat added, and soy milk made on equipment shared with wheat, etc. Maybe the competition using labels will get more companies to start using them.

Since they don't have to tell us when gluten has been added, it seems logical to let companies assure us that they have not added any.

For example, I love that Wegman's has clear labeling right on the front of their products. If it is gluten-free it has the symbol right there on the front (same with vegetarian and other labeling), so I don't even have to turn it over to see if they have added something to what I think would be gluten free. When they have a clear labeling system that keeps me from even having to locate the ingredients, why make them take it off certain products--even if they contain only one ingredient that is inherently gluten-free? It's a clear and easy system that helps us and saves us time.

Seeing "ingredients: peas" is nice, but seeing a G with a slash through it, right on the front is even nicer. :D

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