University Business April 2018 - 32

MINDFUL MENUS
"We wanted to ensure there would
be no cross-contamination, which we
couldn't guarantee in our larger dining
facilities," Klos says.
Concerns about cross-contamination
led to a gluten-free dining hall at Kent
State University in Ohio, which has 12
dining locations across campus. Prentice
Café opened in 2016 as a response to
a growing number of requests from
students with gluten allergies, gluten
sensitivities and Celiac disease. The Aramark-operated dining hall, which seats
about 200, serves 5,100 meals per week.
Other dining facilities serve gluten-free
foods, but Prentice Café, which is open
to all students regardless of gluten allergies, is the only location dedicated to the
specific allergen.
Making a mid-size dining hall a
gluten-free zone made sense, says Shay
Little, vice president for student affairs.
"We knew that doing this in our largest
operation or in one those larger facilities
might not be practical."
2. Invest in success
At Kent State, the $20,000 cost of opening Prentice Café included purchasing
smallwares such as color-coded knives and
cutting boards, investing in a deep cleaning and sterilization to remove all gluten
residues and potential airborne contaminants, and swab-testing the facility to ensure it was free of allergens.
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh spent $250,000 to create a takeout
kitchen called Nourish, where all foods
are prepared without gluten, wheat, milk,
eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, soy and most
tree nuts. The CulinArt Group-operated
takeout kitchen is located in the Cohon
Center (the same building as the fitness
center and mailroom) and sells up to 200
meals per week.
"We handled allergies on a case-by-case
basis fairly successfully prior to Nourish,
but our team didn't feel it was the best or
the safest solution for our students," says
Director of Dining Services Pascal Petter,
adding that "it was an investment, but it
32 | April 2018

GLUTEN-FREE ZONE-Prentice Café, located within a residence hall at Kent State
University, is the first Gluten Intolerance Group Certified full-dining location on
a college campus in the U.S. On the daily menu posted online, symbols indicate
vegan, vegetarian, hearty whole grain-based and "Eat Well" items.

meant providing more opportunities for
students to safely eat on our campus."
To meet the dietary needs of students
who keep kosher, some schools have experts on staff to ensure religious standards
are met.
For instance, Northwestern University has a kosher station in Allison Residential Community's dining hall. Kosher
foods are stored and prepped separately
from non-kosher foods. A rabbi oversees
preparation and works with food-service
partner Sodexo to confirm the foods being
ordered are kosher. He also supervises deliveries to make sure foods are handled
and stored to kosher standards.
"Students are looking for the variety and
authenticity they would get if they were
dining out in the local community," says
Ken Field, Northwestern's director of dining services. "We try to match that expectation with the services we're providing."
3. Prioritize training
Colleges depend on well-trained dining
services staff to handle food in a way that
makes it safe for those with special diets.
Working with a food service provider
such as Compass Group, Aramark or Sodexo can help. In addition to staying up

to date on recalls and food safety guidelines, the food service giants manage all
aspects of such training. Topics can include safe food handling and preparation
to avoid cross-contamination, responding
to student questions (which can be very
specific) about ingredients, proper cleaning, and recognizing and responding to
food allergy reactions.
Training can be trickier in larger dining halls because of the size of the kitchens, number of staff and the sheer volume
of meals, Little says. In dedicated facilities,
such as Prentice Café at Kent State, the
risk of cross-contamination is low because
no products contain allergens.
"It's a little bit easier because it's all
that we're thinking about. We do this one
thing," Little says.
Colleges with in-house dining services must develop their own programs.
At Tufts, the manager of staffing and
a registered dietitian provide the annual
allergen training (as well as periodic reviews) to dining hall staff, with topics
such as safe food handling and sanitation of utensils and prep surfaces to avoid
cross-contamination.
"We like to be as proactive as we can
and the investments in training give us-
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