It’s Election Day and We’re Thinking Politics
By Susannah Faulkner, Strategic Sales Manager
Have you ever considered the fact that having a food allergy means that you can be affected by some key pieces of legislation? When I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2006, I had no idea that politicians had the power to make my life easier. So, since we are in the political spirit today, I am tapping into the
The Gluten in Medication Identification Act (H.R.4972)
Introduced on April 27th, 2012, by Representative Tim Ryan from Ohio.
This bill would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to identify and label any starch-containing ingredients in medication. It is often difficult to get gluten related information on prescription medications and this bill has the power to make a very positive impact on lives. The bill currently has 26 Democratic co-sponsors, and is sitting in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Consider contacting your local representatives to encourage them to take action on the bill!
Recognizing May as National Celiac Awareness Month (H.RES.246)
Introduced on May 4th, 2011, by Democratic Representative Nita Lowey of New York.
Unfortunately this is another bill that has stalled and is currently pending in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. As stated in the bill, the resolution would express “support for: (1) the goals and ideals of National Celiac Awareness Month, and (2) working toward an eventual cure for celiac disease through increased research and treatment.” It would also “recognize: (1) that awareness of celiac disease will have a significant positive impact on the quality of life of people with that disease, and (2) the importance of improving diagnosis rates through increased education about the disease.” This bill currently only has 9 Democratic co-sponsors, so it’s imperative we encourage our local representative to put it back on the table!
FDA Ruling on Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods.
Lastly, and one of the most important political involvement for those with a gluten intolerance, is the upcoming FDA ruling on Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods. This ruling by the FDA is four years overdue and we are still waiting for a conclusion. The Food Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by former President George W. Bush in 2004 and stated that the FDA and Department of Health and Human Services must create standards for gluten free within the next four years.
Currently the Food Labeling and Consumer Protection Act covers only the top eight allergens (and requires labeling of these allergens) but gluten is not included. Thus, food companies are not mandated to label for gluten and there are no actual standards for what is gluten free.
The FDA has committed to ruling on the gluten free standards in the first quarter of 2013. This would require any food company wishing to label their product as gluten free to be tested to under 20 ppm for gluten content, just like the procedure for the European Union. This would be a huge win for celiac awareness, and we urge you to stay up to date on the ruling!
We hope that this quick guide encourages you to take action on issues that are very close those of us living with celiac disease, food allergies, and/or other dietary restrictions.
Are there any other gluten related issues you’d like to see members of Congress act on?