Vanderbilt Campus Dining has created a loyal base of food allergic students by providing state of the art services to ensure student safety on campus. With 8% of students nationwide navigating life with a severe food allergy or intolerance, a safe dining experience is a top consideration for these students in selecting their college. In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 9-15), Vanderbilt offers a comprehensive look at their accommodations for allergy students. Vanderbilt provides an inclusive and safe dining experience for students through the passion and hard work of their staff as well as employing leading resources in the allergy industry.
The venue “2301” in Rand Dining Center is “Certified Free From™” the big eight allergens – milk, egg, wheat, soybean, tree nut, peanut, fish, and shellfish as well as from gluten. This venue appeals to non-allergy students as well with lines snaking out the door during a typical semester. Vanderbilt is also “Certified Free From™” peanut and tree nut in all residential dining halls becoming the first school in the nation to do so.
The “Certified Free From™” accreditation comes with ISO support from MenuTrinfo®, LLC, a leading expert independent food allergy food service company since 2010. To become “certified”, the venue must pass a rigorous audit addressing not only ingredients but cross-contamination or microscopic presence of contaminating allergens. To obtain and maintain certification, schools must verify all ingredients, have strict rules for food sourcing, pass monthly allergen testing protocols and receive MenuTrinfo’s approval of new ingredients.
Additionally, Vanderbilt offers specially made meals for students with severe allergies, as identified by Vanderbilt’s office of Student Access Services. These students order their meals through a mobile phone app called OrderIT - Allergies, developed by Touchwork, LLC, and managed by a registered dietitian at Touchwork. The app helps students choose safe items and reduces risk of preparing incorrect food. The app also assists in communicating with students via text in case the student has a question for the chef or vice versa. Since Vanderbilt began using the app in July of 2019, the dining allergy team has served 5800 special allergen-friendly meals to 74 students with severe allergies.
The staff at Vanderbilt work hard to create this safe environment at Vanderbilt, and they are also specially trained to do so. Senior culinary staff undergo allergy training through MenuTrinfo’s AllerTrain program. The ANSI accredited training is taught by Master Trainers who are specially certified to teach the course. Vanderbilt’s own dietitian, Emily Suttle, is an AllerTrainer™ with MenuTrinfo®. Emily is passionate and skilled in her role and ensures she is available to all her students to help them navigate the dining halls safely and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, students can submit questions regarding dietary preferences, allergies, or general nutrition questions via SMS text message – by texting their question with the code ‘AskEmily’ to 55744. For more information about Vanderbilt Campus Dining, visit campusdining.vanderbilt.edu.
MenuTrinfo® , LLC
MenuTrinfo® is a one-stop-shop for education food service providers and companies producing consumer packaged goods who are catering to the food allergy community. Our mission is to protect lives and health through nutrition and training, and we do so in our suite of services. By providing three major services: full-service kitchen audits for facilities and products known as “Certified Free From™” any of the top 8 allergens, ANSI accredited , food safety and allergen/gluten-free training, and food allergy/ gluten-free identification in recipes, MenuTrinfo® is dedicated to making the food-service industry safer for those dining with food allergies.
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