I have always thought that campus food is pretty decent at Millersville. Before I came to the United States, I expected it to be way worse than it actually is. I think that most of the time it tastes good and there is enough choice. But have you ever thought about the students with a gluten allergy?
If you are not allergic to gluten, you probably won’t notice that it’s hard to make the right choices. I have a gluten allergy and I have met a lot of people on campus with the same problem.
Think about everything they serve at the Upper Deck and then think about how many of those products contain gluten. You really have to think about what you eat. My allergy is fortunately not too bad. It is not the case that I get really sick when something I eat is prepared on the same surface as something that contains gluten. Unfortunately, I know people whose allergy is that bad. For them it is really hard to find food that is ‘safe’.
I talked to my friend, Rachel Kunicki, about it. She is a sophomore at Millersville and she also has a gluten allergy. She learned how to cope with it in the two years she has been eating the campus food and now she knows how to work her way through it.
For example, she taught me that there is a separate fridge in the Upper Deck behind the desserts that contains all sorts of gluten-free products. There is also a toaster and a microwave that can only be used for gluten-free products. Furthermore, you can ask for gluten-free bread in the Anchor, the Galley and the Bistro. They even have gluten-free pizza in the Upper Deck.
This all sounds pretty good, right? The only problem is that most employees don’t know about it. It is very important to Millersville that students with allergies have enough options to eat good food. Consequently, dining services makes sure that the managers know about the available, gluten-free options.
The students that work there, on the contrary, often have no idea about the food that is served. They don’t know how it is prepared and the exact ingredients. Most student that work in dining don’t know about the available gluten-free options either. It doesn’t get used very often, because only a relatively small part of the student body is allergic to gluten. However, I still think it would be better if students that work in the dining halls would get educated more about the food.
These students who work in the dining halls should be able to tell easily how the food was prepared and if there are any ingredients in it that a lot of people are allergic to, such as milk, gluten and nuts. Furthermore, they should also know where all the gluten-free products are, so that we don’t have to wait ten minutes until they have found the bread and defrosted it.
If dining services educates the students workers a bit more about the products they serve, it will make eating in the dining halls a lot easier for everyone.