This story may not seem like a big deal to you but I say “Hurrah!”
Waaaaay back when I was in college, in the 90s, food allergies and dining services were two worlds that never met. I’m glad to see that change is coming!
Citing Allergies, Pasta Station No Longer Serves Pesto
The upper level of O’Donovan Hall is officially a nut-free zone.
In an effort to ensure the safety of students with nut allergies, foods such as pecan pie and peanut butter will be served only on the lower level. In addition, the pasta station has stopped serving pesto sauce, as it contains pine nuts.
“The elimination of nuts on the upper level was created to avoid cross-contamination when students dish additional food items onto their plate,” said Kristen Hamilton, registered dietitian at O’Donovan Hall.
“This compromise, however unpopular with some students, is the safest solution to ensure all students can enjoy their dining experience,” she said.
In response, Katie Cronen (COL ’11) created a Facebook group called “Bring Pesto Back to Leo’s!” which had attracted 93 members as of last night.
“I was kind of upset it was gone because it was so popular,” Cronen said. “I wanted to do something a little bit more proactive than sitting around and complaining. I found an online comment card through the Leo’s Web site and told all my friends to write a comment.”
Cronen suggested cooking pasta with pesto sauce in separate pans in order to protect students with allergies while continuing to offer the sauce.
In response to the comments of Cronen and others, Margie Bryant, associate vice president of auxiliary services, said in an e-mail to Cronen that she would be in contact with the Dining Services management team to review the removal of the pesto sauce.
“Peanut allergies are common food allergies and are definitely prevalent among the student body so it feels good to know that at least upstairs is peanut-free,” Elizabeth Ockerman (COL ’11), who is allergic to peanuts, said.
For those with sensitive allergies, minimal exposure to nuts can cause anaphylactic shock, in which the victim has difficulty breathing and could die in a few minutes if left untreated.
— Julia Cai