By Jennifer Iscol

the_white_houseSuccess! It was a nail-biter to the very last minute, but we obtained 25,000 signatures on the White House gluten-free labeling petition by the deadline of October 31st, 2012.

You can still sign! The petition will be open until the administration issues its official response. The more signatures we have, the stronger our collective voice. Read and sign the petition and see how many others have signed itWhite House petition (http://wh.gov/Be7R[Update: The administration issued a response and the petition is closed.]

Thanks to the American Celiac Disease Alliance for ten years of leadership in advocacy for our community!

Reprinted with permission from www.americanceliac.org:

Over 25,000 Sign Gluten-Free Labeling Petition

Over the past month our community took on the daunting task of gathering 25,000 signatures for a “We the People” petition asking for the gluten-free labeling standard to be completed. This special petition, made available to us through the White House webpage, presented a perfect opportunity for the community to advocate on the critical issue of gluten-free labeling.

The showing of support for this effort was unparalleled. International celiac organizations rallied their members in solidarity for us and the labeling which they already enjoy. It is impossible to know how many from the celiac and gluten-intolerant community, bloggers, food manufacturers, physicians, dietitians, support groups, and so many more, that signed, and shared the petition and encouraged others to do the same. Amazing outreach!

Even a once in a lifetime storm could not deter us. While sending thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the hurricane, across the country friends and family ratcheted up their use of social media, to make sure the goal was met. IT WAS and a heartfelt thanks to all!

Stay tuned for the White House response.

What did the petition say?

“We petition the Obama administration to: Finalize Standards for GLUTEN-FREE Labeling

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act required Health and Human Services to set a gluten-free labeling rule by 2008 to aid people with celiac disease, a life-threatening autoimmune condition. The only known treatment is a strict gluten-free diet.

An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac and even more may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Without adequate labeling, those on a medically  prescribed gluten-free diet struggle to make safe food choices and stay well.

Children with celiac cannot participate in the National School Lunch Program when food service staff cannot determine if products are gluten-free.

Congress did its part by passing the law. It is up to the White House to protect the health of millions of adults and children by finalizing the rule NOW.”

Why is it needed?
In 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act required the Department of Health and Human Services to set standards for gluten-free labeling by 2008. The rule is now over four years late. While the FDA has been working hard to get the rules done, it was also important for others, namely at the White House, to know that the health of millions of Americans is at risk because they don’t have access to basic information about product ingredients.

Will this petition make a difference?
According to the White House, if enough people sign the petition, which they did, administration officials will review and respond to the signers.  We look forward to their response!