The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Gluten free or gluten friendly?

Parkhurst works with students to accommodate allergen needs
Photo by Ari Ismail for The Lafayette
According to Parkhurst management, only half a dozen students have celiac disease.

With the new dining provider came new labeling for gluten allergens: “Gluten free” is now “gluten friendly,” reflecting the inability of dining halls to fully accommodate those with gluten allergies. While some students still remain frustrated with their lack of access to gluten-free foods, Parkhurst management and Lafayette administrators have been working with students to expand allergen accommodations.

“Gluten friendly” food is “free of direct gluten-containing ingredients,” Lafayette Dining’s website reads. “While we do our best to eliminate cross-contact wherever possible, these items have been prepared in our kitchens which do process other items containing gluten ingredients.”

An anonymous supervisor at Marquis said that this is not unique to Parkhurst and that Bon Appétit, Lafayette’s previous dining provider, also could not completely accommodate gluten allergies.

“This is nothing new,” the supervisor said. “It was the same concept last year.”

Parkhurst had received backlash from students due to a supposed lack of allergy accommodations.

“Our processes we use in the dining facilities are identical to the previous food service providers, but the change in terminology is due to the potential of cross contact that occurs in dining halls as well as the facilities,” campus executive chef Jason Moyer wrote in an email. “We take all necessary precautions to prevent cross-contact but since we cannot 100% guarantee, we have opted for the term gluten-friendly.”

A student with celiac disease who wished to remain anonymous shared his experience with the lack of gluten-free options on campus.

“I’ve had a lot of problems where things have been mislabeled,” the student said. “[The signs] said that [certain foods] should be gluten-free when they’re not, which is very dangerous.”

“I’ve met with [Moyer] and I’ve reached out to have conversations with other people in the dining services, but they basically just say, ‘Oh, it’s gonna take time to be resolved,’” the student said. “Basically, they were just under-prepared … they basically said, ‘wait a month, and it should get better.’”

Parkhurst’s resident district manager Christine Blaha said that communication with dining services is important for students with gluten allergies.

“There’s only about half a dozen students [with celiac], so their meals are handled on a case-by-case basis,” Blaha said. “I encourage students to reach out to me, shoot me an email and we can work things out one-on-one.”

According to Blaha, students can pre-order meals that are prepared with separate allergy-safe utensils in sanitized areas.

Rebekah Lazar ‘26, another student with celiac, has been working with Parkhurst management and college administration to improve her own dining experience. She was previously taken off the meal plan as an accommodation after having her first meeting with Parkhurst and the administration. Her second meeting on Wednesday also included recently hired sous chefs.

Lazar, whose weekly meal plan was replaced with a 100-swipe-per-semester plan, said that she “had a really long conversation with [the new chefs], recounted everything and they apologized.”

“I felt genuinely listened to,” she said.

Lazar said that Parkhurst will be “getting rid of ‘Gluten Friendly’” and changing it to “Gluten Free Favorites.” She will continue to meet with the new chefs to form a dining plan.

“I’m putting myself forward and I want to be in this trial run,” Lazar said. “Other students would not feel comfortable doing what I did and that’s okay because you they shouldn’t have to.”

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About the Contributors
Jenny Davis, Staff News Writer
Selma O'Malley
Selma O'Malley, News Editor
Waiting for someone to write a sitcom about a college newspaper.
Ari Ismail
Ari Ismail, Staff Photographer

Comments (1)

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  • S

    Sheryl HarpelOct 14, 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you for focusing on the importance of safe, inclusive college dining for students with food restrictions. This article has been added to the college news section of our Gluten Free Friends website which has original blog content, survey responses from students with food restrictions, and curated college dining news to help raise awareness and push for better dining programs. Take a look for some ideas on how to improve dining at Lafayette!