At the beginning of Spring 2019, a new area in the Ithaca College Campus Center Dining Hall was added so that students with food allergies or intolerances could eat without risk of cross-contamination. Now, students who are registered with Dining Services as having a food allergy or intolerance can get their meals from “My Zone,” a place where a variety of foods are available and are guaranteed to not be cross-contaminated with allergens like nuts and gluten.
This addition follows a roundtable discussion that took place Fall 2018, where students and officials from Dining Services discussed ways the dining hall could better handle its food and protect students with allergies and intolerances. It is clear that Dining Services is taking the severity of allergies and intolerances seriously, and these additions are making our campus a safer place. Cross-contamination in the dining halls has caused issues in the past, as some students have experienced serious allergic reactions, and it is encouraging to see Dining Services respond promptly with a viable solution. Dining Services should be praised for taking action on this issue.
Students attending the college deserve to know that the food they are being provided will not cause them to have dangerous, harmful reactions. Most students who live on campus are dependent on the dining halls to provide most of their nutritional needs — as they should be, considering that meal plans for residents not living in an apartment are made mandatory by the college.
Moving forward, Dining Services should extend this initiative to all dining halls and keep these anti-contamination areas open during all hours. Students with allergies or intolerances pay for the same meal plan all students at the college do; however, their access to these services is limited. The area preventing cross-contamination only currently exists at the Campus Center Dining Hall, and the students who need to use it are restricted to eating at that location and during its operating hours. If Dining Services wants to make itself truly accessible to all students attending the college, it needs to begin working on ways to improve food safety and availability