If you were looking for a follow up to the Elissa Goodman podcast catastrophe, not to worry. I’m not done with her by a long shot. But this post takes precedence. I actually should have written about this topic weeks ago but between my schedule and not really having a full understanding of the topic, I let it go til now. BUT IT IS VERY IMPORTANT.
Below I am going to share a document put together by Tricia over at Gluten Free Watchdog, who deserves all of the credit for pushing the celiac community to get involved in this. Again, and maybe it’s because…
…but the topic is a bit confusing so here is a quick summary:
1. The FDA sucks
2. The celiac community is getting screwed again
3. The FDA sucks
The FDA is trying to shut out the celiac community from ever being involved in future petitions regarding regulation of gluten containing grains. They only want to consider petitions from people who basically have “instant” reactions to an allergen and not, you know, perhaps dying of cancer years after ingesting that said allergen. Why? See items 1 and 3 above. Here is a fuller explanation from Tricia:CommentGlutenFreeWatchdogFDA-2021-N-0553-0005
If you’d like even more clarity, you can listen to Tricia’s audio message.
So we have two days to hopefully change their minds. The deadline is August 17. And we do this by leaving a passionate comment HERE.
So let’s do what we do best. And what it seems we are constantly called to do. MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD.
If you’re not sure what to say, here is what GF Jules wrote. Please feel free to paraphrase her verbiage (she’s already given permission) but make it your own.
Those with gluten sensitivity also require a gluten-free diet; estimates are that it affects between 10-16% of the population to some degree. (Many other patients with non-IgE-mediated medical conditions including but not limited to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia, also benefit from a gluten-free diet.)
While these are undisputedly serious medical conditions, they do not cause IgE-mediated reactions and acute and life-threatening responses.
While FALCPA protects these consumers to a limited extent, it is only in cases where manufacturers choose to voluntarily label certain products “gluten-free.” For other products not voluntarily labeled “gluten-free,” these consumers currently have no way of knowing if these foods contain gluten-containing grains other than wheat (which is covered by FALCPA labeling regulations).
Because FALCPA does not cover the gluten-containing grains barley and rye as it does for wheat, manufacturers in the U.S. are not currently required to alert consumers of the presence of other gluten-containing ingredients in their foods (such as malt, malt extract, malt syrup, malt vinegar, malt flavoring, natural smoke flavor, yeast extract and natural flavors).
For FDA’s draft guidance to limit citizen petitions regarding foods that cause any immune-mediated adverse reactions, and to limit its review to only foods causing IgE-mediated reactions and acute life-threatening responses is unfair, arbitrary, and ignores the science.
The very 2021 FAO/WHO Expert Committee referenced in FDA’s draft guidance reviewed the food allergens in existence since 1999 and determined that “cereals containing gluten” should be included in the list of foods and ingredients whose presence should always be declared in the list of ingredients on a food label.
It made this determination because it included celiac disease with IgE-mediated food allergies. The committee found that gluten-containing grains required mandatory disclosure due to potential harm to the population based on prevalence, severity and potency of potential harm.
While most countries around the world already require cereals containing gluten to be labeled, the U.S. as of now does not. Any move by FDA to close the door on citizen petitions for more protective regulations is frankly not only unreasonable, it’s unsound.