Friday, April 29, 2011

Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit: May 4th, 2011 in Washington, DC

Hopefully by now, you've heard of the upcoming Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit being held on May 4th, 2011 in Washington, D.C.  The event, organized by 1 in 133.org, will feature the world's largest Gluten Free cake (13 feet tall) on Capital Hill in an effort to finally get the FDA to finalize what the term "Gluten Free" means on product packaging.  Wouldn't it be great if you could pick up a product that had the term "Gluten Free" on it and know exactly what that meant?  Kind of a no-brainer if you ask me.  But who am I - just some guy who must follow a medically required Gluten Free diet for life in order to be healthy due to my Celiac Disease.  It's not that important, right?  Wrong.


We all know that the FDA missed the August 2008 deadline to finalize the FALCPA law as well as the 2010 deadline to enact the law which was proposed in 2004 and passed in 2006. The law states the following for Gluten labeling...
Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with appropriate experts and stakeholders, shall issue a proposed rule to define, and permit use of, the term ``gluten-free'' on the labeling of foods. Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule to define, and permit use of, the term ''gluten-free'' on the labeling of foods.
Ever thought about what can be accomplished in ten years (by the time this is actually passed it will probably be ten years - hopefully not more).  See below for some examples of what can be done in ten years. 
  • A band of colonists organized and defeated the strongest military in the world. Remember the US Revolution? In less than 10 years, the “shot heard ’round the world” transformed the way the world viewed freedom and liberty.
  • The US put a man on the moon. Our country accepted the challenge issued by President John Kennedy and, using computer systems that had less computing power than a cheap digital watch today, we left Earth and set foot on another celestial body.
  • The Transcontinental Railroad was completed and what was a six month trip from coast to coast was reduced to about 6 days
  • The Panama Canal, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Hoover Dam were all completed in 10 years or less. You learned to speak your native language in less than 10 years. You learned to walk in less than two!
I think you get the point.  Too bad the FDA doesn't.  So, why can't the FDA decide on Gluten Free labeling - now going on 7 years?  Dang it, set the standard to 20 PPM and hold companies accountable for using the term Gluten Free - it is not that hard. Maybe if we had some of the fine folks from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture working instead for the FDA, things might be different.  Just a reminder of their involvement in investigating and prosecuting the fraudulent Gluten Free Baker - Paul Seelig.  Hopefully, before Seelig gets out of prison 10 years from now for poisoning Gluten Free consumers, this will finally be passed.

So what can you do to help?  Visit 1in133.org for more details on the summit and how you can support their efforts.  You can sign a petition to the FDA (currently has nearly 6,000 signatures), send a letter, you can donate money (I donated $133 to be a sponsor) or you can go the summit yourself and shout some cool chants at lawmakers on Capital Hill.  Special thanks to Jules Shepard for organizing the event and building the cake (which was built by Lee Tobin at the Whole Foods GF Bakehouse here in the Triangle)!  Click here to read an interview with Jules conducted by Hajo at Custom Choice Cereal.  Click here to read various media mentions of the event.

Event Details - Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Join us to watch construction of the World’s Largest Gluten Free Cake
Embassy Suites Convention Center
900 10th Street NW, Washington, DC
Phone: 1+(202) 739-2001

5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Donor and Sponsor Reception
Individuals, organizations, and companies who graciously provided support for the GF Labeling Summit are invited to join us to celebrate Awareness Month, the unveiling of the cake, and hear guest speakers.

6:15 p.m. Program begins
7:00 p.m. VIP / Summit reception (private room)
7:30 p.m. Closing remarks by event organizers (main room)

All Day – Individuals are encouraged to make appointments with their Representative and Senators to discuss the need for gluten-free labeling standards. Not sure how to do this? See "Coming to the Summit" by clicking here.

Best of luck to all those attending - let's hope this issue is finally resolved very soon.

1 comments:

Christopher said...

hey zack i hope its not a problem and it may already be inserted some where in the forums but i wanted to let you know i posted this gluten free food labeling summit blog on a few different forum topics on celiac.com giving you full credit of course i just wanted to let you know i was using it to try and get the word out more....even though some thing this big im sure most of everyone with celiac sprue, gluten intolerance, ect. know about this already! just wish i could witness it myself. love is gluten free and gluten free brings love. thanks
~Chris

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