Feds rewrite college cafeteria menus under ADA

by Walter Olson on January 4, 2013

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it failed to

* Continually provide ready-made hot and cold gluten- and allergen-free food options in its dining hall food lines;

* Develop individualized meal plans for students with food allergies, and allow those students to pre-order allergen free meals, that can be made available at the university’s dining halls in Cambridge and Boston;

* Provide a dedicated space in its main dining hall to store and prepare gluten-free and allergen-free foods and to avoid cross-contamination;

And much more. The college has also agreed to pay $50,000 to students affected by its earlier policies. [J. Christian Adams] Similarly: Hans von Spakovsky, FoxNews.

P.S. NPR report confirms demand from advocates for “gluten-free food [that] is prepared and served in dedicated areas.”

{ 8 comments }

1 boblipton 01.04.13 at 3:22 pm

Does this mean they know what’s in Mystery Meat? Anyone care to file under the Freedom of Information Act?

Bob

2 John Burgess 01.04.13 at 6:29 pm

@boblipton: You, sir, are brave.

Your question does make me wonder about what allergens might be contained in Soylent Green, however, and if it might run afoul of the ADA.

3 mjs 01.04.13 at 6:42 pm

The tentacles of the ADA continue to grow and ensnare more unsuspecting businesses and institutions. It is time a courageous politician steps up to stop the insanity that has become the ADA.

4 Kimberly 01.04.13 at 7:22 pm

I’m deathly allergic to peanuts. When I went to university, you were required to live on campus freshman year – and most people lived on campus all 4.

So before signing the room and board contract we asked for and got mine modified. They stated they did not use Peanut oil, and they would notify me of any changes during the year. If they started using peanut oil during the year, I would be allowed to move out and get a prorated refund.

We had the same changes made each of the 4 years. Senior year I got sick – real sick. Found out that the food services company was using peanut oil for food being catered to events the University President was attending. I was ill because of cross contamination. I brought this to the Dean’s attention. Well actually I tried to. I had told my parents about the ER trip and what I found out . While I was waiting for my meeting with the Dean – the fundraising department called my Dad asking for a rather large donation. Dad kind of hit the roof.

The University gave me enough money to eat out over the weekend, while the kitchen was scrubbed down and the peanut oil was disposed of. The company that ran it – fired the managers. To top things off their reason for the switch was the University President had suffered a heart attack. They had been asked to use heart healthy oils. Peanut oil does not fall into that category. My cousin who had a heart transplant was told not to use peanut oil.

Our solution only worked because it was a small school (fewer students than my super 5A High school). If I had gone to a larger school, our solution would have been simple live off campus.

5 Doug 01.04.13 at 7:24 pm

there are no courageous politicians.

6 John Burgess 01.04.13 at 9:02 pm

Doug: That’s false. You can find brave congresspeople standing up for many things that 95% of their constituents and funders think is right. It doesn’t even have to be constitutional.

7 carolinacfa 01.08.13 at 12:35 am

I hope this means I have a cause of action against Chick Fil A for switching their waffle fry oil to canola.

8 Food Allergy Mom 01.08.13 at 1:41 am

I am sad the DoJ had to get involved in this case, because I am a VERY small govt kind of a person. But I am also the mother of a food allergic child. Food allergies are serious, as in life and death. I worry and wonder if my kids will come home dead or alive when they are in the care of others — not kidding. If kids are in a dorm situation where they cannot cook their own food, the school absolutley should provide safe options and cross contamination free options for the students. I realize people can choose to attend a different school as well, but this is a widespread problem. Had the school been proactive with their food allergy students, perhaps DoJ involvemnt could have been avoided.

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