Navigating the world of food allergy compliance can be intimidating. Not only do you need to comply with regulatory requirements, but the impact of making a mistake could be catastrophic. There’s no question that serving a guest with food allergies can be stressful, but the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. A recent incident with one of our university clients exhibits the right way to handle a scary situation, and how having a partner in this space can be so valuable.
When a student starts their freshman year of college, there are plenty of stressful thoughts. Will you like your roommate? How will you navigate campus? How will you do in your classes? But possibly the scariest question of all is- how will I stay safe? For a student with a serious food allergy, that’s often the first thing that comes to mind. That means that finding a university that takes food allergies seriously is crucial.
A food allergy allergy incident on campus
When it comes to handling food allergies, our university client is an example for all universities. They have a robust certified training program, plus allergen-free certifications in multiple dining halls across campus. Their entire dining team, led by their campus Registered Dietitian (RD), knows the importance of safely handling special dietary requests.
At the start of the school year, a freshman with known food allergies picked a meal plan they thought was safe. After a normal trip to the dining hall, they quickly realized they was having a reaction and went to the campus health center. Several days later, the same thing happened at a different dining hall. Thankfully they did not have any serious medical implications, but of course they were shaken. They chose to eat at dining halls that were certified nut-free as they was aware of their allergies to multiple tree nuts. The student reached out to the RD on campus for guidance. The campus RD then immediately reached out to our team and we jumped into action.
Solving the mystery
The RD had already done a spectacular job of listening to the student and affirming they were taking the situation seriously. The university organized a Zoom meeting with the student, dietitian, and head chef so everyone was on the same page. The student was also advised to see an allergist right away. Additionally, the students dining plan was modified to accommodate eating in their residence hall over the weekends. The student’s claim was never questioned or minimized and the dining teams actions show how much they care.
Our team at MenuTrinfo jump right in and began helping. We began by reviewing ingredient statements an additional time and interviewing campus employees and contractors. We then worked closely with University staff for several days following the allergic reaction to monitor the situation. Finally, we concluded that the reaction was not caused by a staff or supplier error. The campus RD stayed in close contact with the student for several weeks after the reactions.
This is standard incident response MenuTrinfo® provides for all our Kitchens with Confidence “Certified Free From™” partner clients.
The student was diagnosed with three additional allergies by a professional allergist. This information was the last piece of the puzzle, and explained both recent reactions. The student now has a longer list of foods to avoid, but can rest a little easier knowing the dining halls’ allergen-free claims are verified and trustworthy.
Let MenuTrinfo help
The university staff did a tremendous job handling this student’s reactions, and it was our role to help provide backup information and be a sounding board for their decisions. Handling a food allergy is stressful enough, why go through it alone? We have your back!
MenuTrinfo exists to inform the public about what the can eat safely and with confidence. Our robust audit, analyses and recommendations are only the start of our partnership with you. We will support you and your operations at all times.