Tomorrow, September 13th is National Celiac Awareness Day. This day was chosen in honor of the birthday of Dr. Samuel Gee. Gee is credited with being the first to identify the link between celiac disease and diet. To read more about it, check out the Celiac-Sprue Association's Website .
In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has scheduled a public hearing on allergen advisory labeling on September 16, 2008, at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's Harvey W. Wiley Building in College Park, Maryland. Formal notice of the Hearing published in the Federal Register on August 8, 2008. Please click here to read the Federal Register. "The FDA is developing a long-term strategy to assist manufacturers in using allergen advisory labeling that is truthful and not misleading, conveys a clear and uniform message, and adequately informs food-allergic consumers and their caregivers."
As someone who deals with living a gluten-free life everyday, clear product labeling is necessary and should be required on all food items. Many manufacturers are already listing the possible allergens on their labels. Many, still are not. For those of us with food allergies and intolerances, a trip to the grocery store is sometimes very tiring and confusing. I find that when "regular" brand items are not clearly labeled, it forces me to buy the much more expensive "Certified Gluten-Free" labeled items in the Natural/Organic Foods section of the store. While these foods are usually very healthy, they are not so "budget friendly". Organizations, such at the Celiac-Sprue Association are working to improve labeling so that Celiacs can shop without fear of being accidentally "glutened".