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A food allergen is a medical condition that triggers a harmful immune response causing the immune system to attack food proteins that are normally harmless. Studies show that the “Big-8” allergens account for 90% of all allergic reactions. These eight foods are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. All Big-8 foods must be clearly labeled on any processed food packaging as stated by the USA Food Allergen Labeling Act (FALCPA).
Although going to college “gluten-free” is becoming easier, there are still many challenges students will face. It is estimated that 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease and 83% of them are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that is triggered by consuming gluten. There are over 300 symptoms of the disease but symptoms can vary depending on the person. Due to limited menu items, living on campus with a gluten-free diet can be extremely frustrating. It is only recently that colleges and universities have started to make gluten-free more of a priority in their dining facilities. Many schools have expanded their gluten-free menu choices with tastier offerings to help engage students who feel isolated due to their food restrictions.
Unfortunately gluten and allergen cross-contamination can happen at any stage of food preparation. Contamination can occur in the kitchen, during packaging or even after the food has been clearly labeled. To help minimize the risk of contamination, create a safe zone or designated area for both allergen-free and gluten-free foods. Create a visual reminder for staff and students by using purple color-coded products in the kitchen and on display. Since purple is the universal color for Allergen Awareness, Hubert has developed and manufactured our very own purple products. Our large assortment offers purple products for back-of-house food prep and cooking as well as display items to help students identify allergen-free foods. Here are some of the Allergen Awareness tools used by Tulane University in their TV news cooking segment.
Work closely with our experienced Education Specialists to implement your ideal gluten-free/allergen-friendly zone while staying within budget!