Enough is Enough with Gluten-Free Misbranding: Contact FDA Today

Enough is Enough with Gluten-Free Misbranding: Contact FDA Today

Please email and mail ALL of the Health and Human Services and Food and Drug Administration personnel listed below. This list includes Alex Azar, Stephan Hahn, Susan Mayne, and Robin McKinnon. Make your voices heard! The letter I’m sending on behalf of the Gluten Free Watchdog community is in the photo and also pasted below. Please feel free to use any or all of the information in your own letter.

Contact information for HHS and FDA personnel

Mr. Alex M. Azar II

Office of the Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Hubert H. Humphrey Building

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

Secretary@HHS.gov

Stephen M. Hahn, MD

FDA Commissioner

Food and Drug Administration

White Oak Building One

10903 New Hampshire Avenue; Room 2217

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Stephen.Hahn@fda.hhs.gov

Susan Mayne, PhD

Director

CFSAN

5001 Campus Drive

College Park, MD 20740-3835

Susan.Mayne@fda.hhs.gov

Claudine Kavanaugh

Director, Office of Nutrition & Food Labeling

CFSAN

5001 Campus Drive

College Park, MD 20740-3835 

claudine.kavanaugh@fda.hhs.gov

Megan Velez

(Acting) Director, Office of Regulations & Policy

CFSAN

5001 Campus Drive

College Park, MD 20740-3835

Megan.Velez@fda.hhs.gov

William A. Correll, Jr.,

Director, Office of Compliance

CFSAN

5001 Campus Drive

College Park, MD 20740-3835

william.correll@cfsan.fda.gov

Robin Mckinnon

Senior advisor for nutrition policy

CFSAN

5001 Campus Drive

College Park, MD 20740-3835

Robin.McKinnon@fda.hhs.gov

Text of the letter:

Dear,

On behalf of the Gluten Free Watchdog community I am once again reaching out to the FDA to ask that you please enforce the gluten-free labeling rule.  Since we filed our FDA citizen petition asking for increased surveillance, investigation and enforcement of potential facial misbranding violations under the “Gluten-Free Labeling Rule” (see https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FDA-2017-P-5118) and the supplement to this petition (see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GFWDPetitionSupplementFinal.pdf), numerous misbranded products continue to be reported to Gluten Free Watchdog by consumers. Two of the latest products are included on the second page of this letter.

Foods labeled gluten-free yet containing ingredients not allowed under the rule have been reported to CAERS via Gluten Free Watchdog. Based on information received via a FOIA request, CAERS/FDA is doing little other than maintain a paper trial of the complaints coming into them from Gluten Free Watchdog.

The lack of enforcement of the gluten-free labeling rule is putting at risk the health of people with celiac disease. It also is emboldening manufacturers to openly disregard the codified rule.

As FDA is well aware, it was a long journey over several years to finalize the gluten-free labeling rule. Many responsible gluten-free food manufacturers have taken the time and resources to ensure their labeling practices comply with the rule.

But the journey is not complete. Too many misbranded products remain in circulation. We ask that FDA promptly turn its attention to the manufacturers who blatantly are not in compliance.  These manufacturers will change their practices when they hear from FDA on one of their products. This, in turn, will reduce the number of misbranded products in circulation, thereby meeting the objectives of the gluten-free labeling rule and restoring consumer confidence in the term “gluten-free” when it appears on a product.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Tricia Thompson, MS, RD

Founder, Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC

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Comments (7)

  • Jessica
    Reply

    Claudine’s email is incorrect (reports as does not exist)

    February 18, 2020 at 4:48 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Jessica. Thank you. The .gov portion somehow was cut off. It is correct now.

      February 18, 2020 at 6:09 pm
  • Carol Reply

    The gluten free labeling law was put into effect to protect consumers who are sensitive to gluten, a component of wheat, barley, and rye. Because of growing/processing methods and because of similarity in appearance, oats is also on this list because of the high occurrence of cross contamination with gluten grains.
    If you dont have celiac or gluten sensitivity, this may not seem important to you, but symptoms of severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting can progress to malnutrition, cancer, and neurological symptoms like seizures. The law was put into place in recognition of the needs of these people. Please protect us. Please enforce the laws already in place.

    February 18, 2020 at 5:22 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Carol, Please send the text of your comment to everyone in the contact list. Thank you.

      February 18, 2020 at 6:09 pm
  • Shal Lynch Reply

    Is it true that FDA is more responsive to telephone calls? Someone on one of the celiac pages says she called the local line/contact re: General Mills and received a call back from a staff member at FDA asking additional questions

    February 18, 2020 at 7:32 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      For something like this–a general request to increase enforcement–no, not in my opinion. For reporting issues with specific food products–yes. Consumers should contact their local consumer complaint coordinator. A listing is available at https://www.fda.gov/safety/report-problem-fda/consumer-complaint-coordinators. Gluten Free Watchdog has been advised to submit complaints on behalf of consumers via CAERS (a different arm of the reporting system).

      February 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm
  • Lynn Thomas Reply

    Enough IS Enough…for someone like myself who tries to carefully read labeling..sometimes I foolishly trust a label..only to suffer the devastating consequences of a lazy manufacture who mislabels products..ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!

    February 18, 2020 at 8:18 pm

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