flagIt’s Election Day 2010. Time to cast your vote for your candidates and…your gluten intolerance?

Today, we elect legislative, executive, and judicial leaders, but our civic duty continues throughout the year. In grade school, we learn that we have a responsibility to hold those elected accountable, and as we become adults, we start to choose the issues that matter most to us.

Food safety is a big concern for many Celiacs, and the U.S. Senate is currently considering a bill to update certain FDA standards and regulations. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) was introduced in March of 2009 and has been the source of some controversy regarding small farm agriculture. Still, the house version of the bill (HR 2749) passed with bipartisan support. S. 510 mostly addresses the prevention and detection of food safety concerns, but, as written, does nothing to address gluten.

This past September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s efforts to end debate and bring the bill to a vote met opposition from Senator Tom Coburn, whose concerns about the bill mostly involved budgetary implications.

After several such delays, the bill may come up for a vote during the “lame duck” session of Congress (before newly-elected senators take their seats next year). In the meantime, you can request a manager’s amendment from your senators to add gluten to the list of “hazards” on page 129, line 9. Such an amendment would require the tracking of gluten in domestic and imported foods. The CSA has a sample letter on the Pending Legislation page outlining such a request.

Until any new legislation regarding gluten is passed, we must all remain vigilant in reading ingredient lists and contacting companies.

But now just might be the time to make your voice heard.