PHILADELPHIA — In advance of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on September 28, 2022 (#WHConfHungerHealth), Bari Consulting Group, Celiac Journey and @GlutenFreeFinds_pa released a comprehensive report which includes their top policy objective that has the potential to dramatically improve nutrition, reduce food insecurity and reduce diet-related disease for millions of Americans with Celiac Disease. The intention of the Bari Report is to inform the National Strategy of the White House Conference with the recommendation of naming of Gluten as a Major Food Allergen and requiring that Gluten be labeled on all packaged foods.
This recommendation comports with the “White House Conference Pillar #2, Integrate nutrition and health: Prioritize the role of nutrition and food security in overall health, including disease prevention and management, and ensure that our health care system addresses the nutrition needs of all people .”1
Celiac Journey is requesting a patient advocacy seat at the table at the White House Conference to share our lived experience with Celiac Disease. Labeling Gluten will reduce the treatment burden, food insecurity and diet-related disease for 3.3 million Americans with Celiac Disease, a potentially life-threatening food allergy and auto-immune disease, from adverse health effects that can arise following Gluten ingestion.2 As World News Tonight with David Muir reported, Jax Bari, age 9, shared, “Eating without fear is our hope. Food insecurity happens every day for Celiacs” because of the constant threat of cross contact with Gluten, 80% of foods have Gluten in them, the high price of Gluten Free food, and Gluten is not required to be labeled on all packaged foods in the US3
Labeling Gluten on all packaged foods in the US is in alignment with the previous conclusions of international food safety authorities and expert committees comprised of scientists, regulators, physicians, clinicians and risk managers from academia, government and the food industry including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization: “Summary report of the Ad hoc Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment of Food Allergens. Part 1: Review and validation of Codex priority allergen list through risk assessment.” 2021 (“2021 FAO/WHO Expert Consultation”).4
The 2021 FAO/WHO Expert Consultation, the authoritative body chaired by the FDA’s Dr. Lauren Jackson, Chief, Process Engineering Branch, Division of Processing Science & Technology, Institute for Food Safety & Health, determined:
“Based on systematic and thorough assessments which used all three criteria (prevalence, severity and potency), the Committee recommended that the following should be listed as priority allergens: Cereals containing gluten (ie, wheat and other Triticum species, rye and other Secale species , barley and other Hordeum species and their hybridized strains), crustacea, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, sesame, specific tree nuts (almond, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio and walnut).”5
The Bari Report and policy objective for the White House Conference were also informed by many of the 1,576 public comments submitted to the FDA during Summer 2022 on evaluating the public health importance of protecting Celiac consumers with labeling Gluten as a Major Food Allergen. The Bari Report to the FDA (Docket: FDA-2021-N-0553) is available here, www.celiacjourney.com/whconf