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Vanderbilt Campus Dining earns allergen-free certification

Feb. 19, 2020, 9:36 AM

After passing a rigorous and thorough audit by Kitchens with Confidence, a leading independent food service accreditation system, Vanderbilt University has become the first U.S. university where all commercial on-campus kitchens are “Certified Free From” tree nuts and peanuts. In addition, Rand Dining Center’s 2301 platform is “Certified Free From” the top eight allergens.

Supporting a diverse student population with a broad spectrum of dietary needs and restrictions, Vanderbilt Campus Dining is committed to offering an inclusive dining experience for all students.

“It is imperative to design solutions that would scale across our operations and support our top-rated culinary program,” said David ter Kuile, executive director of Vanderbilt Business Services. “This certification helps further Campus Dining’s efforts to promote health and wellness in our dining halls.”

Although accommodating the growing number of first-year students with specific food allergies and sensitivities has been a challenging task, Campus Dining decided against an incremental approach and instead went all in to build a comprehensive allergen program. This strategy included transitioning kitchens to be completely free from the top two allergens in the country (tree nuts and peanuts) and minimizing the chances of cross-contact by separating allergen-containing foods.

Other steps taken include stocking single-use compostable service ware, implementing regular allergen-eliminating cleaning practices, and requiring recurrent AllerTrain food-allergy training certifications for senior-level kitchen staff.

The Rand Dining Center has gone even a step further in its 2301 concept, preparing meals “Certified Free From” all of the big eight allergens—milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean—in order to provide foods that are safe and nutritious for all students to enjoy.

At the heart of Campus Dining’s commitment to ensure that all students have healthy and nutritious food on campus is Registered Dietitian Emily Suttle. Working directly with students to provide dietary guidance, Suttle’s one-on-one student counseling helps inform many of Campus Dining’s menu choices and meal preparation processes.

“We’re proud to foster an inclusive environment for all Vanderbilt students and want everyone to feel at home in our dining halls, regardless of allergies, intolerances or dietary preferences,” Suttle said.

Learn more about how Campus Dining supports health and nutrition. >>

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