As my bio says, I have celiac disease, which means I can’t eat gluten…even in very tiny amounts. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and those of us with celiac disease are incredibly sensitive. I can’t eat french fries at a fast food restaurant because they are cooked in the same oil as chicken nuggets, which are breaded. It makes it incredibly difficult to eat out and can be a real problem when buying packaged food at the store too. You would be amazed how many things have gluten hidden in them.

That is why I am incredibly excited that on Tuesday, August 2, the FDA posted a news release announcing that they are reopening the comment period for the gluten free food labeling rule. The release explains that the FDA is looking into having the guidelines be more stringent for allowing a label announce that it is “Gluten Free.” The proposal does not want anything with 20ppm (parts per million) or more of gluten to be able to say it is Gluten Free. According to the release, 20ppmis the smallest amount that can be tested for. There is a 60-day comment period open starting on August 3, 2011.

As someone with celiac disease, I am really happy to see this labeling rule being looked at. I get really frustrated when I see a package that loudly announces “Gluten Free!” on the front, and when through the ingredients list it says “contains wheat.” This makes me want to say, “Um…excuse me. Do you know that wheat contains gluten?” I feel bad for those who aren’t as diligent in reading packaging and may have missed the fine print on the side of the box.

I have come across many people who think individuals who don’t eat gluten are “picky” or “fad dieters.” Consequently, they don’t take us with celiac disease into account. I don’t really like it, but I have to be very exacting when I buy food. Good labeling will help me – and the thousands of others with this disease. I hope that as more people understand how strict we need to be in our purchase of products and food preparation that they will start to truly understand the nature of this disease. I consider this to be a great step forward and encourage anyone else who feels that way to comment on the docket (instructions in the link to the press release above).

What do you think about this? Do you think it will be good? I can’t wait to hear from you!

Melina Young

My name is Melina Young and I am the director of marketing at Verity Credit Union. I love everything to do with marketing, advertising, public relations and social media – especially all the research that goes into making a product or service really work for our members and making sure the right people hear about it. In addition to my time spent marketing, I have a blog and write about celiac disease, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. Basically, I can’t eat any of those foods we all love that are made with wheat, barley or rye.

I have also recently started running and completed my first 5k in 2011. Some people may not know that I used to do a lot of acting, dancing and singing in my life. I was in a Nike commercial with Gary Payton in junior high (if anyone ever finds the footage please send it my way!) and I used to compete as an opera singer in high school. I almost majored in musical theater in college, but I’m very glad with my decision to study marketing!

2 Responses

  1. Tonja says:

    I think that this is great as I have family and friends with Celiac disease. We all have learned to cook for them. I am thankful though that most, but not all of them can eat something that has been prepared in a kitchen with items that have gluten. We just really watch labels on food items and then separate out items that are GF from others when preparing them or serving them. Seeing them in pain when they do get something “wrong” for them is horrible. I wish everyone could experience that then they would know it isn’t a fad or picky eating!

  2. Anita says:

    I think that is wonderful news! I don’t have celiac disease but I do try to eat less gluten these days and I cook gluten free breads. We shouldn’t need a disease to try to eat healthier.

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