Tag Archives: Gluten

FDA Lawsuit and the Need for Clear Labeling

The Wall Street Journal had a piece in their March 17 Pharmalot edition discussing the recent lawsuit brought against the FDA for not regulating the disclosure of gluten in medications.

The article delves into the struggle Michael Weber, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, endured to find safe medication.

After taking the drug, “I called my pharmacy and they were not able to determine that drug was gluten-free,” says Weber, a medical office assistant in Eastchester, N.Y. “So then I had to find which manufacturer produced the generic. I went to their website and then had to speak to somebody at the company. They said that was not a gluten-free batch… So I had to discontinue taking the drug. I would like to be able to take drugs and not have any fears or go through all these hoops.”

It is ironic that the FOOD and Drug and Administration would have a lawsuit brought against them for failure to keep citizens with a debilitating medical condition safe.

Unfortunately, this is a battle the celiac and food allergy communities have been fighting for years. It would be nice to have all drug manufactures list all of their ingredients. It is a challenge navigating having a simple antibiotic filled or working with your doctor and pharmacist to find the appropriate medication to take for chronic conditions.

IcebergThe reality is this only the tip of the iceberg. Food products can be found in hair care products, soaps, lotions, make-up, household cleaning products, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and the list goes on.

Although food is inherently not a bad thing, in fact it is good and necessary for life, for some people, being exposed to trace amounts of certain food proteins can  cause serious reactions.

We in the food allergy and celiac communities need to push for clear labeling laws, on food, pharmaceutical, personal care, and home care products. If it contains food, or a food derived product, it needs to be on the label in clear plain English.

Transparency in labeling needs to go beyond gluten and the FDA’s recognized top eight food allergies. Transparency may only truly be accomplished if ALL foods are clearly labeled on ALL products that contain ANY food or food derived substance.

According to FARE, Food Allergy Research and Education, “More than 170 foods are known to cause food allergies”.

As a society, as consumers, we need to care about being able to actually read and understand the label on the products we use and consume. It benefits everyone, not just the celiac and not just the food allergy communities.

LIFE OF A FOOD ALLERGIC, A BREAK FROM THE NORM

In the world of special dietary requirements there is much talk of how clean is clean. Delving into the minutia, constantly, makes one feel a bit cross-eyed not to mention the endless label reading, grilling manufacturers about their facilities, how their lines are maintained and cleaned between each product run wears very quickly.

There are also our interpersonal relationship discussions. What soaps do they use? Did they hand wash or use the dishwasher? Is this a home I feel safe in or wary? Please don’t put your lips close to my face if you’ve eaten something I’m allergic to.

And then there are the blessed weekends when we find a place where we feel like we belong. This last weekend was spent at special dietary needs conferences like Living Without’s Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin, TX.

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What a joy this conference was. It was a bit of a break from treading through the weeds to have the opportunity to pop up and say “hello”.

Hearing people’s stories, was so refreshing, so varied! Some shared stories of with long battles to get their diagnosis, some with being diagnosed years before there was much information or help, and others, just recently diagnosed desperately looking for help with their new normal.

There were some really fantastic vendors, as well. Not only were their products amazing, but they were extremely open about their manufacturing process – which was so refreshing. I love the small companies who are driven by all the right things: openness, quality, and genuine care for their customers. Amazing stuff.

But most of all, I loved seeing the support. How sweet it was to my heart to see someone walk in with their friend or relative tagging along for support! Yes, please! Life has its ups and downs. Not everything is going to go my way or be perfectly suited to me, but if I have the support and care of a friend, it makes all the difference.

Much of what I saw this weekend was a direct result of that very thing. People lost in the minutia, reading labels, going cross-eyed…one day deciding to take a leap and do it for others. The micro and macro are tied and intertwined together, each individual thread embodying its color coming together in a tangled mess to create a beautiful masterpiece.

As featured on Food Allergy Gal.

Product reviews from the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest coming in next several weeks! Stay tuned.

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Excited about… Food Allergies

This past week I’ve been working on a “You CAN eat list” and menu for a client. It is such a thrilling and rewarding experience. We all know the feeling of leaving the allergist office with a list of things we can no longer have, and suddenly that list seems to be everything edible on the entire planet. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, terrifying, and confusing.

Thankfully, a “You CAN eat list” puts that other list into perspective.

This is part of the reason I’m looking forward to the Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest at the end of this month.

They are the “You CAN” conference for those with food allergies and intolerances.

So tired of “nos” and so looking forward to the positive!

Hope to see you there! I’ll be in booth 102 – 104, stop by and say, “Howdy!”

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