Make Your Campus Food Allergy Friendly
The Lesley and Rider University cases make it clear that food allergies and celiac disease may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and colleges and universities must find a way to meet this growing challenge.
Get started with some simple steps:
- Provide information on your website about how students with food-related disabilities can seek accommodations. Take it a step further by completing a profile on FARE's Food Allergy College Search, which will help you educate students and show you how you compare to other universities.
- Go beyond food allergy training to offer a variety of solutions that meet students' dietary needs. This could include providing dining areas free of the top 8 allergens, offering pre-ordered meals and implementing policies and procedures throughout dining to avoid cross-contact. Complete FARE's dining services self-audit to evaluate your dining program's strengths and identify next steps for improvement.
- Convene key stakeholders on campus to inform a policy that ensures students with disabilities have full and equal access to the university. Stakeholders may include disability services, dining services, residence life and others. Check out FARE's Access Services Guidance for Higher Education to learn more.
Being proactive and implementing solutions now will not only help colleges and universities avoid legal trouble, it is an enormous marketing advantage. There are 35 million Americans with food allergies and/or celiac disease, and this number is only increasing. Going beyond accommodating to genuinely serving their needs can help colleges recruit students in a competitive market.