True or False
T/F Every ten minutes a food allergy reaction send someone to the emergency room.
T/F More than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions.
T/F Teenagers and young adults are the highest risk group for food-induced anaphylaxis fatalities.
False. Every three minutes someone lands in the ER due to a food allergy reaction.
True. While eight food allergens have been identified as the major culprits, the FDA recognizes more than 170 foods that have caused allergic reactions.
True. And that means having dedicated allergy-free dining halls for students with food allergies and gluten sensitivities is more important than ever.
Food allergies are a source of concern and worry for parents. The prevalence of food allergies in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. As these youngsters head off to pursue their (often very expensive) college careers, parents want assurances that dining halls will cater to their students’ special dietary needs. When purchasing a meal plan isn’t an option, then the options need to include delicious and healthy foods that just happen to be allergy-free.
That poses some very interesting challenges for campuses across the country. Attracting students gets increasingly competitive every year, and not having a campus-wide comprehensive food sensitivity program could be the factor that swings your university into the “no” column for some families. Considering that one in 13 children have food allergies, this becomes a significant number to reckon with.
Showing parents and their students that your university has dedicated gluten-free and allergy-free dining halls that are certified as such could make all the difference in the world. Not only do the parents have confidence that the likelihood of their student suffering from a severe reaction is minimized, the student doesn’t feel excluded and can fully participate in campus life.
Making your campus allergy- and gluten-free—and no, not the entire campus, just designated areas—doesn’t have to be overwhelming or burdensome. It does take time and dedication, which in the long run, pays off.
- A simple kitchen audit typically takes less than a day and arms your dining services crew with the tools to monitor, identify and control allergens and gluten in menus and ingredients lists. Kitchens with Confidence’s audit process includes 41 main components with over 125 critical control checkpoints that covers all aspects from loading dock to table top, with the end result being gluten- and allergy-free dining halls.
- Compiling a recipe and ingredients data base ensures that all employees have information right at their fingertips about every single dish prepared by dining services staff. MenuTrinfo®, Kitchen with Confidence’s parent company, has a proprietary data base with tens of thousands of ingredients that are used in and analyzes recipes providing complete and accurate allergen charts, certified gluten-free menu choices and information.
- Requiring each employee to undergo continuous training and not just annual is imperative to a successful food allergy and celiac policy and its accompanying procedures. AllerTrain, another subsidiary under the MenuTrinfo® umbrella, trains food handlers at all levels in allergens, avoiding cross contact and celiac disease. Some staff members with the appropriate background may want to become Master Trainers, which certifies them to train colleagues under the AllerTrain program on their campuses regularly and continuously
So there you have it—all the tools to put your campus on a few other lists: one of them is “Best Campus for Allergy- and Gluten-Free Dining” and the other is the “Yes” list.