FDA thinks gluten-free means what is says

FDA thinks gluten-free means what is says

In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month 2018,

A series of bites, barks, tail wags, face licks, and pant tugs from Gluten Free Watchdog

May 21, 2018

Gluten Free Watchdog Bite, Post # 21

According to the FDA, “”Gluten-Free’ Means What It Says.” See https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069.htm

My response: Really? Then why do we continue to find products labeled gluten-free on store shelves that contain wheat flour, malt vinegar, malted barley, and hydrolyzed wheat protein?

According to FDA:

“”This standard ‘gluten-free’ definition eliminates uncertainty about how food producers label their products. People with celiac disease can rest assured that foods labeled gluten-free’ meet a clear standard established and enforced by FDA,” says Felicia Billingslea, director of the FDA’s division of food labeling and standards.”

My response: FDA has been made aware of every single product that I am aware of that is labeled gluten-free yet contains barley malt ingredients, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and wheat flour. So why are some of these products still on store shelves? This does not look like enforcement to me.

According to FDA:

If consumers have any doubts about a product’s ingredients and whether or not the product is gluten-free, they should contact the manufacturer or check its website for more information.

My response: Contacting manufacturers doesn’t work well when the manufacturer firmly believes barley malt and hydrolyzed wheat are allowed in foods labeled gluten-free.

According to FDA:

If consumers want to report a labeling issue related to a gluten-free claim (e.g., the product carries a gluten-free claim but lists wheat flour in the ingredient list), or if they experience a bad reaction to a product labeled “gluten-free,” they can contact their FDA consumer complaint coordinator.

My response: The current reporting process does not appear to work all that well for labeling issues as evidenced by the misbranded products that remain on store shelves.

My message to FDA: As a result of persistent facial misbranding, folks with celiac disease do not have the luxury of trusting that “gluten-free means what it says.”

Please provide an update on our citizen petition asking for increased enforcement of misbranding violations under the gluten-free labeling rule.

My message to consumers: Please continue to read ingredients lists.

If anyone questions why continuing to read ingredients lists is necessary, check out the product alerts and warnings posted on Gluten Free Watchdog’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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