Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Letter from the FDA on gluten in cosmetics

I just contacted the Senior Public Affairs Specialist from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition branch of the FDA. I asked her for any information the FDA had regarding gluten in cosmetics. She replied (quickly) with the following response.

Dear Ms. Krull: Cosmetics will not require the gluten free labeling and do not conform to the allergen labeling required for foods. As of January 1, 2008, gluten labeling will be on most foods. We do not keep a listing of cosmetic ingredients or manufacturers and their individual products or product lines

Great news for the food. Many of you with gluten sensitivities have probably been keeping track of this issue for some time now. January is right around the corner!! However, for cosmetics and personal care items, it is still up to the folks "in the trenches" to find their own way. In my search through the FDA, I did see several dockets listed (from consumers appealing to the FDA about labeling) that mentioned gluten concerns about personal care products. It seems that perhaps I need to add my own letter to their list. If you are wanting to write a letter to the FDA expressing your concerns about gluten labeling in cosmetics and personal care products, here is some contact info.

Jeannine Ertter, A.S.C.P.Senior Public Affairs Specialist
Outreach and Communication Branch
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Outreach and Information Center
5100 Paint Branch Parkway HFS-555
College Park, MD 20740-3835

Toll-Free Information Line: As of February 13, 2005 the Information Line is
TEMPORARILY OUT OF SERVICE due to technical issues. We are sorry for
the inconvenience, and are working to restore service as soon as
possible. 1-888-SAFEFOOD(1-888-723-3366)

If you require the use of a Relay Service, please call the Federal Relay Services (1-800-877-8339). This is a toll free relay service to call Federal agencies from TTY devices.

I was hopeful for a bit more, but at least we know for sure where the FDA stands (and apparently, nothing is in the works). Hopefully, there will be something more standardized in the future.

Until then, I'll keep checking :)



Anonymous said...

I posted this response on the glutenfreepost site where you mention cross contamination, but I didn't see it, so I'm reposting here....

Right on Erika. The cross contamination issue certainly matters to me. I've had more internal gluten reactions to cosmetics than to food! At least with food I know what to look for and to avoid.

Cream rubbed on hands or all over the face gets ingested. That's a no brainer right there. The fact that there's any disputing it, is just absurd to me.

Companies and doctors can make whatever claims they'd like. Doctors are just as much to blame for misinformation. One reputable celiac doctor has said a celiac would have to ingest many lipstick tubes to experience any reaction, and that's simply false!

I've had severe gut reactions to licks of glutenous lipstick. In fact, I continued to be sick for years, because of suspecting but continually doubting the connection. I regained my health when I finally stopped using cosmetics.

I have a book full of notes I kept in the 90s on which cosmetic companies I'd contacted, when, and what info I was able to aquire. Letters from companies, phone numbers, dates of contact, you name it.

And what it resulted in was sheer frustration and depression. I learned that these companies - particularly the estee lauder ones - were able to say whatever they wanted, while everything was proprietary anyway, and that in truth, this wasn't just a celiac dilemma here. But one for everyone - particularly women and children.

Because then I learned of the chemicals. Why it was that so many entertainers and newscasters whose careers were talcum laden developed lung cancer at alarming rates. Asbestos. There's no regulation in this industry in the US. It's trial and error, and that's simply unacceptable.

Thank you Erika for your recent blog on this very topic of gluten-free cosmetics. :) You are very wise and very wonderful.

P.S. Recently, I've come across afterglow, avea, lavera, and miessence for color cosmetics - desert essence organics, and herbology for creams, shampoos, conditioners, cleanser. I do use the clear antibacterial soft-soap (even as shampoo) without any reactions whatsoever. Dido for thai deodorant stone.

I don't wear cosmetics and for moisturizer I've been using olive oil, or breaking open gluten free vitamin e capsules. I want to wear make-up so badly though. To think, I came to NYC initially to act on stage. :)



Erika K said...

Well thank you for your reply, Andrea. I'm sure there are many folks who care about cross contamination, which is why I am always going to ask about it. My husband cares about it, which is mostly why I ask! But it's beyond just him.

I do believe you ought to give Afterglow a try. I haven't done my profile of them yet, but this lady has had it in her family and I really believe she gets it. And as far as mineral makeup for foundation (which is what they have), you use a very spare amount to begin with. Lots of "tapping off excess". You get a nice effect with very little product. I have not tried very many of their products, but I believe they would be a great place for you to start (especially since you'd already come across them before).

Anyway, thanks for the reply and I hope this blog can be helpful for you and others.

Anonymous said...

Hi GF for 1 month and Wow this is a total shock. I did find Avon has 200-300 products GF but will not release the list. Some Lancome Lipstick is GF (woo hoo) just bought one before the diagonsis. Been searching for for as much info. as possible. Thought I'd pass this on...

Anonymous said...


I think i do have the solution you've been looking for...
YES...YES..there is a brand that is preservatives free BUT also GLUTEN FREE..the brand name is: bionike. it's an italian brand.. it has skin care products and make up gluten free.

I hope you will find what your looking for you can contact them and have some products shipped to you.

From: biocosmetics - TUNISIA

Anonymous said...

Tarte cosmetics is for the most part gluten free. This is a well known natural brand sold at sephora across the USA

thelewdangel.com said...

Very good and very interesting