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Scott Adams posted an article in Additional Celiac Disease ConcernsAt the start of the 2016 academic year, Kent State University becomes the first university in the country to feature an entirely gluten-free dining hall on campus. Kent State restructured Prentice Café after administrators noticed that the number of students arriving on campus with gluten intolerance was rising each year. The new dining facility will meet the ever-increasing demand for gluten-free foods. An estimated 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, the individual’s immune system attacks the small intestine and inhibits the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is essential for those with celiac disease and sensitivity to gluten to avoid products containing these ingredients. Some individuals who have not been diagnosed with an allergy or sensitivity to gluten also choose to restrict their gluten intake as a personal preference. Until recently, however, it has often been difficult to find suitable gluten-free food options, especially when dining away from home. Kent State aims to make college life easier for students who need or prefer gluten-free foods. At Prentice Café, all menu items are gluten-free. Although many campuses offer gluten-free products and some even offer gluten-free stations in their dining halls, Kent State is the first campus to offer an entire dining hall that is certified gluten-free. "Students’ needs have always been our top priority," said Rich Roldan, director of university dining services at Kent State. "Students have enough to worry about - they should not havve to worry about their food being safe to eat. It is important they can eat in a safe environment, which is why we decided to make Prentice Café a gluten-free dining location." Prentice Café earned certification from the Gluten-Free Food Services Certification Program, a food safety program offered through the Gluten Intolerance Group. The Gluten Intolerance Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the gluten-free community through consumer support, advocacy and education. Although gluten intolerance has gained attention in recent years, it can still be challenging to address the needs of students who have celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. One issue is students’ reluctance to self-identify as gluten intolerant. Students are sometimes self-conscious about special dietary needs and often prefer not to feel singled out when dining on campus. This was something administrators considered when developing Prentice Café. "It’s important for students who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance to be able to have a safe location where they can go and not have to worry," explained Megan Brzuski, Kent State’s dining services dietitian. "There are many different menu items and options available for students to choose from at Prentice Café." Anyone is welcome to dine at Prentice Café, which is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to every item being gluten-free, the menu also features a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as foods that support a healthy lifestyle. The café accepts meal plans, cash and credit cards. Prentice Café opened on Aug. 29, the first day of the fall semester. A grand opening celebration will be held on Sept. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students, faculty, staff and all members of the Kent State community are invited to attend the event, which will include opportunities to sample items, as well as educational displays and prizes. The Gluten-Free Food Service Certification Program, a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group, is a proven model of established best practices for food service establishments offering gluten-free options. Certifications and protocols are customized to the specific needs of each food service establishment who works with the Gluten-Free Food Service Certification Program, including considered factors such as facility size, number of locations and the type of food establishment. For more information about the Gluten-Free Food Service Certification program, visit www.gffoodservice.org. For more information about Kent State’s Dining Services, visit www.kent.edu/dining.
Jefferson Adams posted an article in Gluten-Free Grains and FloursCeliac.com 10/03/2012 - In an effort to expand the market for Kansas-grown sorghum, a professor at Kansas State University and a group of food science graduate students are conducting research into the use of sorghum in new gluten-free food products for people with celiac disease. Kansas is one of the top sorghum producers in the U.S. In 2006, as the manufacturing of gluten-free products started to take off, sorghum farmers began looking for alternative uses for their crop. Fadi Aramouni, K-State professor of food science, said that quest triggered the university's research into sorghum as a gluten alternative. In America, sorghum has traditionally been used for animal feed, but the growing market for gluten-free foods, along with the availability of food-grade sorghum, is fueling the use of sorghum in these types of food products, he said. Aramouni said the research initially focused on developing a sorghum-based tortilla. He and the students looked at the six varieties of sorghum grown in Kansas and determined which one they thought would work best. They considered factors such as grain hardness, protein, carbohydrate and fiber content, shelf life, dough quality, and flavor. Right away, the research team ran into problems with milling, "because it turns out that the particle size during the milling will affect the properties of the sorghum flour," Armuni said. One problem is that sorghum tends to form a batter rather than a dough, so it is necessary to add eggs and other stabilizers, such as gums, to craft a suitable dough. Using the facilities at Kansas State's grain and science industry department, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Manhattan, the research team has been able to create tortillas, breads, Belgian waffles and waffle cones from sorghum. Their research is largely funded by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and includes comparing the glycemic index of their sorghum products to those made of wheat, corn and rice. The glycemic index measures how a given carbohydrate raises blood glucose. In the last few years, the team's sorghum-based creations have won first prize in the American Association of Cereal Chemists competition. using their new knowledge of sorghum, the researchers are now working to create gluten-free soft pretzels, sweet rolls and dinner rolls, vanilla-flavored Waffle Cones and Crunchums, a raspberry-jalapeno-flavored sorghum snack. "This is not cooking. This is science," Aramouni said. It is important science, he adds, because people who must eat gluten-free food need better, more nutritious products. What new gluten-free products would you like to see on the market? Share your comments below. Source: CJOnline.com