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Food Labeling Laws - Opportunity to speak up for gluten labels

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 24, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Ok, this isn't strictly paleo, and not exactly a question, but since most of you are grain free (and many celiacs like me) I figured I'd share this link to urge the FDA to put the food labeling rules about gluten in place:

http://www.capwiz.com/celiac/issues/alert/?alertid=22815541&type=AN

I know it's a bit off-topic so Mods, please remove if it's inappropriate.

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5 Answers

1
1d952d225819b0229e93160a90bf9bf8

on February 05, 2011
at 04:26 PM

Amen.. Went to Olive Garden Thursday night with co-workers.Kitchen staff gave me the wrong pasta(not gluten free) , and I ended up missing half a day of work Friday because of it,plus a concert I had been looking forward to.Co-worker actually asked me if I'd gone to the show.Told her, no, I was too busy bleeding rectally.People REALLY do not get how serious celiac/gluten intolerance is.You get to the point where you stop being gentle,or polite with them.

1
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on January 25, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Yeah - I did a pretty big double take when I saw celery listed as an allergen for the first time! It feels hard to believe that a significant percentage of the population can have a serious reaction to what is essentially fibrous water. In all my years of "informed consumer" label browsing mode, I've never actually seen anything with a warning about lupin, although I'm reliably informed *coughWikipediacough* that it is increasingly being used as a soy alternative.

I used to be be quite impatient about the big companies dragging their heels, as I honestly hadn't appreciated the tangled web of suppliers that big companies depend on. Added to that, I imagine that the different labelling laws/allergenic compliance requirements must be another hurdle for those selling internationally.

Personally, I feel that amongst people without allergies there is the prevailing yet often unconscious attitude that:

1) Food by definition can't be dangerous. It's food.

2) It's not universally dangerous; if I and everyone else I know has been eating this food their entire lives without ill effect, then why can't you?

3) A piece of bread/stick of celery/lupin seed looks completely innocuous. Anyway, just a tiny amount couldn't possibly hurt.

4) If it were somehow dangerous, surely a modern, first-world government would constitute 100% protection from unsafe consumer products/bad industry practices. (Now if you'll excuse me I have to wash down some unnecessary statins with my aspartame-sweetened diet soda.)

5) Aren't you just being picky? Why won't you eat that? (i.e Why are you rejecting me/my hospitality?) Who do you think you are, Gywneth Paltrow?

1
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on January 24, 2011
at 04:45 PM

In an ideal world, clear and prominently displayed allergy information would be mandatory everywhere. The only problem is that the list of potential allergies is endless; which should be included, which excluded?

Here in the EU our labelling laws seem to be stricter: "Allergens must be declared explicitly in the ingredient declaration, and a summary list of allergens may be added nearby for added clarity for the consumer. These include allergens present in the actual recipe's ingredients, but also those from additives and processing aids when residues may be present in the product. There are fourteen sources of allergens that need to be mentionned when present in a product, this includes any of their derivatives: Cereals containing gluten, Crustaceans, Eggs, Fish, Lupin, Milk (including lactose), Molluscs, Mustard, Nuts, Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Soybeans, SO2 (Sulphites) and Celery"

Anyway, here's to the petition's success!*

Note: posted as an answer since too many characters for to be a comment.

*Even if it may encourage people to eat less unprocessed foods and more gluten-free imitation SAD junk.

0
Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on January 25, 2011
at 07:11 PM

RE allergies becoming increasingly common, aside from the hygiene hypothesis vs the contaminated environment hypothesis, could a factor also be that thanks to modern medicine, more people with serious allergies are now surviving and reproducing?

0
E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on January 25, 2011
at 02:23 AM

Celery?? I had no idea! I learned a long time ago that anyone can become allergic to anything, at any time in their life. I bought some really good spring roll sauce from Thailand and it listed that it had carrot in it under allergens. I think a big part of the problem is the massive amount of chemicals we're exposed to and even born with from rampant use.

Here, there is still a lot of "buyer beware" mentality and that it's sole the consumer's responsibility. Most people (who don't have a food allergy or celiac disease) don't understand how serious the reactions can be, or how a little cross contamination that isn't listed in the ingredients can be enough to trigger a bad response, and for people with celiac disease, the long term risk is cancer. While celiac isn't technically an allergy, I often say "There is no such thing as a 'little' bee sting" and most people seem to understand that a lot better. The trouble is, and I understand this from dabbling in commodities buying years ago, that big companies which make big batches of food tend to buy the raw ingredients from multiple suppliers. Kraft doesn't buy the wheat or rice or spice or vegetable and process it in one plant - they buy multiple lots of it from lots of brokers who are getting it from multiple sources. All of it has been processed in multiple places under varied conditions, with little tracking. It's going to be a big tiger to tame.

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