The Crimson White

Bama Dining accommodates students with allergies

Margaret Wilbourne

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For many students living on campus, dining halls are a staple, and a quick, easy meal between dorm life and classrooms. For some students, though, food allergies can cause dining hall experiences to be anything but ordinary.

In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 15 million people in the United States currently have a food allergy, and the frequency continues to increase. With food allergies ranging from fish, gluten or trace amounts of nut oil, both the dining hall workers and students have to be on guard to avoid rushed trips to the hospital.

Corinne Jenkins, a freshman majoring in economics, is familiar with the complications of food allergies. This year, Jenkins, who is allergic to nuts, has been rushed to DCH Regional Medical Center twice after exposure while eating. Neither incident was related to Bama Dining.

“I’m allergic to tree nuts, not peanuts, which are mostly walnuts and pecans,” Jenkins said. “If I eat nuts I go into anaphylactic shock – my throat begins to swell shut.”

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network, food allergies occur when the body’s immune system attacks food proteins by mistake. After an individual ingests a particular food, the body triggers a sudden release of chemicals that result in an allergic reactions. Symptoms can range from mild rashes, hives or itching to severe trouble with breathing.

Even with a life-threatening allergy, Jenkins said her fears about eating in campus dining halls were put to rest by the convenience of her particular allergy.

“I definitely worry about what I eat in the dining halls, but luckily with my particular allergy I have to mostly just be concerned with the baked goods and desserts,” she said. “You don’t find too many nuts in main dishes, although there are more pecans used down here in the South than I’m used to.”

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For students whose allergies include a broader range of foods, Bama Dining offers services to help avoid unwanted allergen encounters.

“The University of Alabama Dining Services is committed to accommodating the dietary needs of students,” Kelsey Faust, a Bama Dining representative said. “Our residential director, Ed Robertson, regularly meets with students who identify themselves as having food allergies, gluten intolerances or special dietary needs. He reviews food allergies and preferences with students and develops individualized food plans for them.”

Additionally, Bama Dining’s food policies are posted at the entrance of each dining hall. Under a bold heading that reads “Food Allergy Awareness,” students are notified that the food being served may have had contact with common food allergens such as wheat, eggs, milk and fish.

Students with questions concerning an allergy or food ingredients should contact the Food Service Manager or Supervisor for Bama Dining. For more information call (205) 348-6816, or email mealplans@bamadining.com.

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Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894
Bama Dining accommodates students with allergies