Call to Action to Stop Facial Misbranding of Gluten-Free Foods: Contact HHS Secretary Alex Azar

Call to Action to Stop Facial Misbranding of Gluten-Free Foods: Contact HHS Secretary Alex Azar

As we usher in 2020, facial misbranding of gluten-free foods continues to be a problem. Just this weekend, Gluten Free Watchdog filed three formal reports with FDA via CAERS for products labeled gluten-free but listing germinated barley seed powder, durum semolina flour, or enriched wheat flour in the ingredients.

While we have been advised by FDA that progress is being made, there continues to be lax enforcement of the gluten-free labeling rule and manufacturers continue to misuse the gluten-free labeling claim.

The Food and Drug Administration is a Health and Human Services agency and Alex Azar is the Secretary of HHS. Please take a moment to send him an email using the language below as a template. His email address is Secretary@HHS.gov. If you are on social media, please send tweets to @SecAzar and @US_FDA. If you would like to call his office, the number is  202-690-7000.

As one former FDA consumer safety officer once told me, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Let’s continue to make noise for as long as it takes!

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Text for email to Secretary Azar (please personalize with your experiences):

Dear Secretary Azar,

Can you please help the celiac disease community?

The lax enforcement of the gluten-free labeling rule by the FDA and the frequent misuse of the gluten-free claim by manufacturers are putting our health at risk.

Foods labeled gluten-free yet containing ingredients not allowed under the rule have been reported to FDA consumer complaint coordinators, CAERS, and other FDA personnel. These disallowed ingredients include durum semolina flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat, germinated barley seed powder, malted barley, and beer.

Is this okay with you? If not, can you please help us convince FDA that they should consistently and swiftly enforce their own gluten-free labeling rule?

Sincerely, The Celiac Disease Community

This letter is also available as a pdf.

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Comments (4)

  • Lara Garcia
    Reply

    Dear Secretary Azar,

    Can you please help the celiac disease community?

    The lax enforcement of the gluten-free labeling rule by the FDA and the frequent misuse of the gluten-free claim by manufacturers are putting our health at risk.

    Foods labeled gluten-free yet containing ingredients not allowed under the rule have been reported to FDA consumer complaint coordinators, CAERS, and other FDA personnel. These disallowed ingredients include durum semolina flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat, germinated barley seed powder, malted barley, and beer.

    Is this okay with you? If not, can you please help us convince FDA that they should consistently and swiftly enforce their own gluten-free labeling rule?

    Thank you,

    Lara Garcia

    January 7, 2020 at 1:41 am
  • Carol Nelson Reply

    Dear Secretary Azar~

    I am dependent on gluten free foods for my health after being diagnosed with Celiac disease 11 years ago. I was so encouraged by the gluten free labeling law, as it saved me time shopping. I had felt safer knowing that manufacturers were being held accountable.

    I know there have been issues with compliance, and I have gone back to scrutinizing labels again. How can ingredients clearly containing gluten be included in products labeled gluten free? Proper labeling and compliance is essential for my health and others who have celiac and gluten intolerance. This is not a dietary choice for us.

    By the way, if manufacturers cite expense, the gluten free community are already paying much more for gluten free products than the gluten-containing counterparts (a half loaf of white bread costs $5.00; full loaf of bread $2.50). We pay a premium for ‘normal’ foods.

    Please reinforce the law—my health depends on it. Thank you!

    January 9, 2020 at 2:39 pm

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