University of Kansas Provides Gluten-free Foods for Students

By Michaela Warren

The University of Kansas offers gluten-free food at all of its 22 dining locations. Some of the food is purchased from the local HyVee so students can have food they are accustomed to eating. Gluten-free options are increasing on campus and students with a special diet should always ask questions about the food. Employees are trained to answer questions and to handle food in the allergy free zone. There will be a Celiac Awareness Day Nov. 12 – 14, 2012.’

(Natural sound of people dining at the Wescoe’s Underground)

Michaela Warren: For college students with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity eating on campus can be difficult. Students require a special diet with food that can be hard to find. In November HOMEBASE task force will help spread the awareness of celiac disease.

(Natural sound of someone purchasing food)

Barbara Wilson (Dietitian Technician and liaison for all students with special diets): Our vendor doesn’t always have gluten-free foods available so we purchase them from the local HyVee, because we want to have foods that students are accustomed to eating, that they like to eat.

Warren: There are not a large variety of options of gluten-free foods, but new products do become available. Students just need to ask for the gluten-free option.

Wilson: We have a corn tortilla and spinach one. We have something new that’s out; it’s called a petal. It is a gluten-free wrap, and some of them are spinach and things like that.

Warren: Any student on campus with a meal plan will not see an increase in price if he or she has a special diet. Whether they have a gluten allergy or another type of food allergy, the school must provide meals for the students.

Wilson: If a student group is having some kind of a meeting and they have catered snacks, very often they will have chips and dip, or pizza whatever, we can provide some gluten-free snacks. I encourage those students to make sure that their RA knows ‘Hey I need some special foods’.

Warren: Gluten-free food will be made on request, but students need to understand that cross-contamination can’t be guaranteed. Dining employees and student employees are trained throughout the academic year to handle allergy safe foods and to answer any questions a student might have about a meal. Students need to ask questions.

Wilson: But, I think the more awareness we have on campus; the more active they’re going to be to ask questions. If you’re not sure, just don’t not take it, because you think there might be something in it, ask the question.

Warren: November 12 through the 14 will be a Celiac Awareness Day on campus in conjunction with the HOMEBASE task force that is through the Watkins Memorial Health Center with samples provided by HyVee.

Warren: This is Michaela Warren with That’s Food To Me.

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