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    Jefferson Adams

    Not Enough Gluten-Free Options at UCLA?

      UCLA draws student complaints for failure to equally accommodate food allergies in student dining halls.

    Caption: Image: CC--Karen

    Celiac.com 04/25/2019 - In the last few years, we’ve run a bunch of stories about colleges and universities making big changes to their dining services to accommodate gluten-free students. 

    College Students Hungry for Gluten-Free Meals

    But, for all of the improvements in the last few years, getting a gluten-free meal at a college campus can still be a challenge. At too many colleges, students still struggle to find easy, reliable, nutritious gluten-free meals, even though research shows that students are hungry for gluten-free meals.

    Celiac Students Push for Gluten-Free Food

    In some cases, students with food allergies feel they are being treated like second-class citizens. A number of prominent legal challenges have resulted in agreements by some colleges to improve their food offerings for students with food allergies and gluten intolerance. A number of universities have been forced to settle claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including Lesley University, and Rider University.

    UCLA is the latest college to come under fire. A recent complaint alleges that many of UCLA Dining Services’ dishes contain gluten, and even those that do not are usually made in kitchens with gluten contaminants, making cross contamination likely. UCLA Dining Services says that the school’s gluten-free pantries contain toasters, microwaves and certified gluten-free dishes.

    Onerous Rules for Gluten-Free Students

    Gluten-free students say the dining halls provide allergen information, and note which foods contain wheat, but they lack comprehensive gluten information. They also enforce arcane rules that make gluten-free students jump through hoops. For example, before students can access the gluten-free pantries in De Neve dining hall and Bruin Plate, they must contact the Center for Accessible Education and fill out an extensive form.

    The basic complaint goes like this: By offering unequal access to high-quality campus food, UCLA is discriminating against students with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. As it stands, these students pay the same fees for others do for a meal plan, but they get unequal options.

    Additional information about the ADA can be found at


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

  • Related Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 05/24/2012 - The old, cafeteria-style dining campus hall is fast becoming a thing of the past.
    Today’s students are bringing their more sophisticated palates and health-related concerns to campuses and schools are stepping up to accommodate them.
    Driven by these new consumer demands, and more creative management, more and more campus dining halls are beginning to resemble restaurants, featuring selections that reflect world cuisine and emerging food trends.
    Students are "becoming more sophisticated customers," says Joe Wojtowicz, general manager of Sodexo, Inc.'s Crossroads dining room at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest.
    These days, it's common for students to press staff about food options, especially questions about celiac disease, gluten-intolerance, food allergies and vegetarian preferences.
    More and more are moving to accommodate dietary restrictions like vegetarian, Kosher or halal, or putting gluten-free or lactose-free choices on their menus.
    From higher quality ingredients, such as free-range eggs, humanely raised meats, and fresh, locally produced produce, dining halls are increasingly offering more exotic options like Cuban, Chinese, or Thai dishes.
    “It’s not just spaghetti for Italian and tacos for Mexican,” said Rachel Warner, marketing director for the National Association of College and University Food Services.
    Many colleges are hiring restaurant chefs, dieticians and nutritionists to oversee the dining hall operations and some are even customizing meals to meet individual student needs or preferences.
    “I think that the shift in dining is really driven by the consumers. They come in with higher expectations and are increasingly savvy about the world around them and the different kinds of food,” says Warner.
    More and more, this higher level of student awareness and expectation is driving camp offerings.
    At DePaul University, students were asked to vote on whether a particular brand of hummus was suitable at their school.
    At Northwestern University, students recently enjoyed a “cruise night” offering food of the tropics. At Loyola University Chicago, students drink hormone-free milk. Students at Northewestern University can choose from numerous kosher options.
    One university in Texas offers a vegan dining hall and a Colorado school has a station dedicated to Persian cuisine.
    According to Warner, “Students are coming in and they do want to have a little bit more say and more options.”
    These dining hall improvements are yielding benefits not just to students, but to their communities.
    In 2011, Wheaton College was ranked by the Princeton Review as having the best campus food in America. The dining services are run by Bon Appetit management company.
    Raul Delgado, general manager of Wheaton College’s dining services, says “When you look at this, the farthest thing from your mind is a cafeteria…This is a restaurant. And like any restaurant, it’s open to the general public.
    Esther Howerzyl, 68, who biked to Wheaton from St. Charles with a group of friends, says the food is "very organic health food and I like all the seeds, the variety of seeds.”
    Do you have experience with these evolving campus dining trends, especially as they relate to gluten-free options? If so, please comment below.
    Also read a related article: Schools Offering Better Food Options for Students with Celiac Disease, Other Food Concerns.

    Jefferson Adams
    College Students Hungry for Gluten-Free Meals
    Celiac.com 08/24/2017 - Despite the proliferation of gluten-free and other alternative dining options at many colleges across America, students on some campuses are feeling left behind.
    While many schools have worked to create dedicated gluten- and allergen-free dining space, a number of colleges and university seem to be lagging. For students on many campuses, the gluten-free revolution can't come fast enough.
    Recent stories about gluten-free dining halls have become common. Kent State and Cornell establishing the countries first certified gluten-free college eatery in the U.Michaela Abel, a senior with celiac disease was forced to cancel her meal plan during her sophomore year due to a lack of gluten-free options at Seattle U's main cafeteria, Cherry Street Market.
    For Abel, eating gluten-free is a necessity, not a choice. The school does attempt to offer gluten-free options, but at the end of the day, couldn't maintain consistent gluten-free conditions, which meant Abel got sick a lot, and eventually had to cancel her meal plan. Abel says she is fortunate to have a friend who offered her the use of a kitchen.
    Meal purveyor Bon Appetit caters six different campus eateries, and says all locations are set up to offer meals and snacks that meet a range of dietary needs, including at least one vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free option at all locations.
    Seattle University really doesn't try to hide their problem. Jay Payne, the General Manager of Bon Appetit at Seattle U, admits that conditions in on-campus kitchens sometimes make it difficult to ensure that food is not cross-contaminated. They are basically saying that it is difficult, so they haven't done it. Beyond that, those in charge largely offered up platitudes about how managers must take training modules that include gluten-free protocols.
    But, if the University fails to provide a suitable environment in which to employ those protocols, how are the students supposed to benefit? What some schools seem to get better than others is that providing gluten-free dining solutions to students is an issue of addressing disabilities, not catering to a dietary fad.
    The schools making the most progress seem to be the schools that understand the importance of the issue, and dedicating resources to solving it.
    Is access to gluten-free food a factor in choosing a college for you, a family member or a friend?

    Jefferson Adams
    Syracuse University Officially Goes Gluten-Free
    Celiac.com 05/18/2018 - Across the country, colleges and universities are rethinking the way they provide food services for students with food allergies and food intolerance. In some cases, that means major renovations. In other cases, it means creating completely new dining and food halls. To document both their commitment and execution of gluten-free and allergen-free dining, these new food halls are frequently turning to auditing and accreditation firms, such as Kitchens with Confidence.
    The latest major player to make the leap to allergen-free dining is Syracuse University. The university’s Food Services recently earned an official gluten-free certification from Kitchens with Confidence for four of the University’s dining centers, with the fifth soon to follow.
    To earn the gluten-free certification from Kitchens with Confidence, food services must pass a 41 point audit process that includes 200 control check points. The food service must also agree to get any new food item approved in advance, and to submit to monthly testing of prep surfaces, to furnish quarterly reports, and to provide information on any staffing changes, recalls or incident reports. Kitchens with Confidence representatives also conduct annual inspections of each dining center.
    Syracuse students and guests eating at Ernie Davis, Shaw, Graham and Sadler dining centers can now choose safe, reliable gluten-free food from a certified gluten-free food center. The fifth dining center, Brockway, is currently undergoing renovations scheduled for completion by fall, when Brockway will also receive its certification.
    Syracuse Food Services has offered a gluten-free foods in its dining centers for years. According to Jamie Cyr, director of Auxiliary Services, the university believes that the independent Gluten-Free Certification from Kitchens with Confidence will help ease the anxiety for parents and students.”
    Syracuse is understandably proud of their accomplishment. According to Mark Tewksbury, director of residence dining operations, “campus dining centers serve 11,000 meals per day and our food is made fresh daily. Making sure that it is nutritious, delicious and safe for all students is a top priority.”
    Look for more colleges and universities to follow in the footsteps of Syracuse and others that have made safe, reliable food available for their students with food allergies or sensitivities.
    Read more.

    Jefferson Adams
    Cornell University Takes Campus Dining Gluten-Free
    Celiac.com 06/28/2017 - Announcements from colleges revamping their dining halls to offer gluten-free and allergen-free foods to students, faculty and guests with food allergies or sensitivities are coming at a rapid clip. 
    The latest gluten-free feather in the cap goes to Cornell University, which has restructured its campus dining halls and food services to include 100-percent gluten-, tree nut- and peanut-free kitchens, including offering a new 100-percent plant-based burger at two campus locations.
    Cornell received its gluten-free facility certification from Kitchens with Confidence after cleaning or replacing equipment and meeting the rest of the qualifications for gluten-free certification. Still, even before the certification was official, Cornell had been quietly serving gluten-free dishes for the last two years.  During that time, Risley offered a stir-fry station that served only rice noodles, and also served rich brownies and fluffy biscuits made with gluten-free flour. 
    Risley’s plant-forward, made-from-scratch menu items also include house-made soups and salad dressings, and the introduction of a 100-percent plant-based Impossible Burger at two Cornell Dining eateries on campus. These initiatives are part of Cornell’s commitment to the Menus of Change principles of healthy, sustainable eating, including a focus on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. 
    As an additional part of that commitment, Cornell Dining will soon implement high-quality ingredient standards in several clean ingredient categories. The department's Clean Ingredients team has already changed more than 50 ingredients currently purchased, and is actively changing recipes at both the AYCTE locations and the retail eateries.
    Cornell Dining now oversees concession operations at Cornell Athletics facilities, while Cornell Catering manages events at Moakley House, offering snacks, meals and beverages at Big Red games, the winter season at Bartels Hall, and adding more concession sites for Cornell's spring sports season. 
    Meanwhile, Cornell Concessions will manage events at Moakley House, the clubhouse at Cornell University's Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. Students, faculty and visitors at Cornell can look for these gluten-free and other menu changes at all campus food locations and events.
    Look for stories like this to become commonplace as more colleges and universities provide accommodations for students, faculty and visitors with food allergies and sensitivities.

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    Im the same, I never know what to eat, some food does better than others for me, I went on to make my own soup and Im glad I did, I should do it more often and at least then J know what's going in to it, it wasn't the best first try but I enjoyed it haha
    Thank you for the advice, in the end I went and made my own soup, not great for my first try but it was better than potentially making myself worse, I enjoyed it, I got some vitamains too to take, I was able to find a liquid Vitamain B Complex, the store I went to was helpfull enough to show me what was Gluten Free.   I fealt awful around then, Im feeling like I have more energy now I can actually do things and focus more, Ill keep on like I have been, Im not 100% and still have some B
    Not to mention the fact that (for those using the Nima) the Nima sensor has been known to give false positives. https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/1/18080666/nima-sensor-testing-fda-food-allergy-gluten-peanut-transparency-data https://www.celiac.ca/cca-statement-nima-gluten-sensor/ https://www.allergy-insight.com/nima-is-it-really-96-9-accurate/ https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/troubling-gluten-testing-data-released-by-nima-but-hold-the-phone/ https://www.glutenfreew
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