Reporting a Gluten-Free Food to the FDA

Picture this. You just went on a gluten-free shopping spree and bought a ton of new gluten-free things. As you’re unpacking your items, something catches your eye. “Does that really say WHEAT on the label?” You check the front of the package and there’s a gluten-free symbol. But there’s actual wheat in the ingredients (or maybe barley). Yep, you’ve encountered a terrible product that needs to go to gluten-free jail. Or maybe you ate an item and you got sick with a gluten-type reaction from a product that was labeled gluten-free (that doesn’t have ingredients that you’ve never had before/could also be intolerant to). If you know that it’s a gluten reaction, it’s time to speak up. You absolutely need to contact the FDA ASAP. 

How to Call the FDA for gluten-free food

Reporting a Gluten-Free Product to the FDA

Here’s how to:

  • Report an issue with a gluten-free labeling claim like:
  • Reporting a facially misbranded gluten-free product
  • Facial misbranding includes something labeled GF but ingredients contain gluten (like barley or wheat)
  • Please note that this does NOT include those foods with a call out for CODEX approved wheat starch (legally labeled GF as long as they call out wheat as an allergen), made in a facility, or made on shared equipment (those are both legal – and optional- claims on a gluten-free product)
  • Reporting an illness from a specific gluten-free product
    • You must keep the item’s packaging that includes UPC codes, and a receipt (if you still have it) that indicates where the item was sold and when it was purchased. These are all questions that can help determine if a batch is over the 20ppm limit and could prompt a recall if enough people call in).

PER THE FDA:

https://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm363069.htm

If consumers have any doubts about a product’s ingredients and whether or not the product is gluten-free, they should contact the manufacturer or check its website for more information. If consumers want to report a labeling issue related to a gluten-free claim (e.g., the product carries a gluten-free claim but lists wheat flour in the ingredient list), or if they experience a bad reaction to a product labeled “gluten-free,” they can contact their FDA consumer complaint coordinator

Contacting an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator

To report adverse reactions or other problems with FDA-regulated products, contact the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator for the state in which you reside. There is not a Consumer Complaint Coordinator in each state. Consumer Complaint Coordinators are assigned to a district which may include more than one state. Therefore, several states may have the same Consumer Complaint Coordinator assigned to them.

Alabama 513- 679-2700
Alaska 800-353-3965 (toll free)
Arizona 303-236-3044
Arkansas 855-630-2112 (toll free)
California (Northern)— zip codes 936xx & higher; and zip codes not covered by southern CA 510-337-6741
California (Southern)— zip codes 90xxx – 92xxx, 93000-93199, 93400-93499, 93510, 93532-93539 949-608-3530
Colorado 303-236-3044
Connecticut 800-891-8295 (toll free)
Delaware 877-689-8073 (toll-free)
District of Columbia 410-779-5713
Florida 866-337-6272 (toll free)
Georgia 404-253-1169
Hawaii 808-522-8011 X1100
Idaho 800-353-3965 (toll free)
Illinois 312-353-7840
Indiana 313-393-8189
Iowa 855-202-9780 (toll free)
Kansas 855-202-9780 (toll free)
Kentucky Toll-free in KY only: 800-437-2382, 513- 679-2700
Louisiana 513- 679-2700
Maine 800-891-8295 (toll-free)
Maryland 410-779-5713
Massachusetts 800-891-8295 (toll-free)
Michigan 313-393-8189
Minnesota 612-758-7221
Mississippi 513- 679-2700
Missouri 855-202-9780 (toll free)
Montana 800-353-3965 (toll-free)
Nebraska 855-202-9780 (toll free)
Nevada 510-337-6741
New Hampshire 800-891-8295 (toll-free)
New Jersey 973-331-4998
New Mexico 303-236-3044
New York 866-446-9055 (toll-free)
North Carolina 404-253-1169
North Dakota 612-758-7221
Ohio Toll free in OH only: 800-437-2382, 513- 679-2700
Oklahoma 855-630-2112 (toll free)
Oregon 800-353-3965 (toll-free)
Pennsylvania 877-689-8073 (toll-free)
Rhode Island 800-891-8295 (toll-free)
South Carolina 404-253-1169
South Dakota 612-758-7221
Tennessee 513- 679-2700
Texas 855-630-2112 (toll free)
Utah 303-236-3044
Vermont 800-891-8295 (toll-free)
Virginia 410-779-5713
Washington 800-353-3965 (toll-free)
West Virginia 410-779-5713
Wisconsin 612-758-7221
Wyoming 303-236-3044
Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands 800-332-0127 (toll-free)

However…

Does this mean that the FDA is enforcing the gluten-free labeling law? Does this mean that the FDA takes every report seriously? Does this mean that the FDA Is really recalling all the products that they have found to be unsafe? I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but read this article from Gluten Free Watchdog and you can see where the skepticism comes from. However…that doesn’t mean that we have to stop following protocol and stop reporting to the FDA? No. We must do our due diligence and follow the current rules for reporting a gluten-free food to the FDA.

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