1. Breanna Newsome, Wood-ridge, Nj., face-to-face interview, 10/19/15
2. Emily Ennabi, Wappingers Falls, Ny., face-to-face interview, 10/30/15
3. Lauren Whitman, Port Washington, Ny., face-to-face interview, 10/30/15
4. Regina Anderson, Rockville Centre, Ny., telephone interview, 11/2/15
5. Chef Anthony Lagname, Poughkeepsie, Ny., telephone interview, 11/4/15
1. Diane Toroian Keaggy "WashU Expert: Six tips for coping with food allergies in college," Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom, 8/6/15; (accessed at http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Managing-food-allergies-at-college-2015.aspx, 10/21/15)
2. Elizabeth Mallon, “College Campuses Accommodate Food Allergies,” University Wire, 2/8/15; (accessed at
3. Food Management, “Making Campus Dining Allergy Friendly”, Penton Media, Inc., 8/7/15; (accessed at http://search.proquest.com.online.library.marist.edu/docview
4. Jason Rehel, “First-Year College Student Dies of Severe Allergic Reaction,” Allergic Living, 9/23/15; (accessed at http://allergicliving.com/2015/09/19/first-year-college-student-dies-of-severe-allergic-reaction/, 10/21/15)
Almost immediately after Marist College senior Breanna Newsome eats foods with nuts she gets nauseous and her mouth gets itchy. “About 10 minutes later, she stated, I’ll start to feel hives or a swollen bump inside my lip in my mouth.”
In an article written by Jason Rehel from Allergic Living studies have shown that young adults have the highest rates of food allergy fatalities.
This unfortunate tragedy happened to Andrea Mariano, a new freshman on the Queen’s University campus in Kingston, Ontario. Mariano passed of having an anaphylaxis shock to a smoothie purchased at school. Because her reaction was so severe, even carrying and using her epinephrine auto-injectors would not have assisted in saving her.
For college students, it can be scary going to school and making or buying meals without prior knowledge about who or what foods have been in contact with your food. In response to this fear, campuses have started with implementing new services to students with allergies.
Loyola University of Maryland has tried to fix this dilemma. The first thing the baker does in the morning, according to Food Management, is to cook all gluten-free baked foods before anything else. Even some of the most popular foods are off the allergy-free menu, such as flank steak and grilled chicken breast.
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor aims to eliminate cross contamination in a variety of ways: they provide gluten-free preparation rooms, cook foods to order and in small quantities, and use an abundance of locally grown produce.
Other colleges will also provide nutritional information about their menus online, take seminars on food allergies, and have one-on-one consultations with students with more severe allergies such as celiac.
Chef Anthony Legname at Marist College drives out to food stores on a daily basis to buy special ingredients for students with allergies in order to make their favorite foods. “All of our staff is trained on food allergens and cross contamination among allergies and parasites,” said Chef Anthony. “I have a certain staff that handles allergy free food and makes sure that it is made in a separate space. If a student comes to a certain station in the cafeteria, the order will be sent to the lead chef who will cook the meal in a specific area to avoid contamination.” He adds that certain dishes with proteins such as steak, chicken or pork chop are easy to make without any allergens in it. The menu on campus is intended to have a very limited of allergens in the foods the college makes everyday.
On October 30th, Marist College hosted their first ever Teal Pumpkin Project to raise awareness for food allergies. FARE, the organization that founded the Teal Pumpkin Project in 2014, reported that 15 million Americans are diagnosed with food allergies. North Road Communications, a student run public relations firm on campus, decided to host an allergy free bake sale for any student, with or without allergies. Among these students, there were two females: Emily Ennabi and Lauren Whitman, two new students with food allergies.
Freshman Emily Ennabi from Marist College has a dairy sensitivity. She started noticing this allergy the first day of sophomore year of high school when she vomited cereal on her school bus. Now in college, she does not use the allergy free room that much because it is only gluten free. Ennabi usually will have salad or grilled chicken when she goes to the cafeteria, and makes sure foods are not cooked with butter but instead uses almond milk or olive oil. She added that lactate pills do not work when she eats ice cream.
Another Marist College freshman Lauren Whitman is gluten ciliac. Her mother will bring her favorite homemade foods, cupcakes and pancakes, to keep refrigerated in her dorm room. However, she does use the allergy free room, more for snacks than actual meals, when she cannot find other alternatives. “There is a big fridge, a big freezer, a microwave, two toasters and bins for each student who uses the room” Whitman stated. When she goes out to eat at a restaurant, she always will search for the menu ahead of time.
Nutritionist Regina Anderson says that allergies are genetic, hard to diagnose and if not addressed can lead to cancer. Even certain nationalities such as Italian, Irish and Jewish nationalities are more prone to food allergies than others. Allergens such as gluten or dairy can hinder one’s digestion. Specifically, dairy sensitivities are very common in college students because they typically tend to consume high amounts of milk in cereal and cheese and pizza. Allergens can aggravate one’s body, especially college students, who have weak immune systems from not getting enough proper sleep.
Anderson adds that college students themselves have to be more mindful about their own bodies, think about what they’re eating and how it affects them physically meaning energy, emotionally, and internally such as digestion. A good way to aid digestion is to take vitamins that balance out the lack of nutrition, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 for vegetarians and probiotics.
Some alternatives are also good for your body, such as hemp milk, which is high in Omega 3 and protein, almond milk, which high amounts of Vitamin E and calcium, cashew milk and coconut milk, which provides good fat for your body. Other alternatives for butter are coconut oil, ghee or an olive oil spread. Ghee is a clarified butter, which digests very well and is a good fat, and also has a buttery taste. Coconut oil and ghee are not only good to cook with, but are also good for your hair and skin, sort of like shea butter.
Legname says that most of the time students get frustrated because they do not always see something they want, or parents complain because they are uneducated of the food services Marist College provides. “Under our impression, we’ve never not been able to help a student out,” he said. “I’m always looking for suggestions and ways to do a better job. I try to have a relationship with the students and find out what they like. If they’re happy I’m happy.”