Thank you so much for joining us for part two of our new webinar series, Food Laws: College Dining Plans. We hope you learned from our panelists as much as we did and now feel confident in starting your college search. We covered a lot of very important themes. Here is the breakdown of the hour-long conversation with some quotes and special moments we’d like to highlight. Watch the whole conversation here.

Missed Part One? Watch Food Laws: Intro to Changemaking here.

Karen Palmer, certified professional coach

Amelia Smith, General Counsel and Vice President, Civil Rights Advocacy, FAACT
Caroline Moassessi, Vice President of Community Relations, FAACT
Terri Brownlee, Director Nutrition and Wellness, Bon Appétit Management Company
Imani Magare, 2021 Graduate, Washington University in St. Louis

Amelia Smith, starting at 1:43

2:06 Legal Landscape of Food Allergies

Food Allergies have precedence in being recognized as a disability.

3:55 Three important cases

  1. Lesley University Settlement
    1. must modify meal plans to accommodate food allergies
  2. Rider University Settlement
    1. university is responsible for making accommodations, cannot rely on outside vendors
  3. State University of New York at Potsdam Settlement
    1. medical single room must be provided at no additional fee

9:51 What legal paperwork protection do families need before sending their students off to college?

  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney/Healthcare Proxy
  2. Durable Power of Attorney
  3. FERPA Release

Caroline Moassessi, starting at 11:52

12:36 The 3 Stages of the College Exploration Process

  1. Getting Started: Browsing
    1. Follow your student’s interests, but also look into dining services and housing policies.
  2. Admission: Setting things up
    1. After accepting an admission offer, set up an appointment with disability services immediately.
    2. Setting up accommodations can take time, so make sure you have the time.
  3. Move-In Ready: Confirmation
    1. Make sure everything is in order for Day 1.
    2. Be flexible, have a Plan B ready.

Terri Brownlee, starting at 21:06

21:50 When would Dining Service want to hear from a food-allergic or celiac individual about eating on campus?

“The earlier the better. Early and often.”

Set up a plan together and don’t be afraid to keep open a line of communication, because sometimes plans need to be modified.

24:41 Who in Food Service should students connect with in order to make these plans?

The General Manager and the Executive Chef.

25:55 What types of meal choices are available at Bon Appetit?

  • Dedicated allergen-free areas
  • Mobile ordering

28:00 Quarantined Meals

Imani Magare, starting at 29:05

29:31 A recent food-allergic college grad’s experience

  • When did you contact dining service?
  • What impacted your final decision for college?
  • What surprised you when you got to campus?
  • How did you go about finding a roommate and sharing a living space?
  • Were you able to study abroad?
  • What is the most important thing in navigating food allergies at college?

Crosstalk, starting at 36:55

37:09 Preparing for a possible reaction

Imani = Tell people around you (RA, suitemates, friends, etc) what to do, just in case. Be proactive!

38:31 What are the main differences between K-12 environment and colleges?

Amelia = Students must provide their own epinephrine, and parents and students will need to fill out paperwork in order to share important medical details.

Caroline = Be sure you know the emergency procedure on your campus (to call 911 first or to call campus security first).

42:32 What should a student do if they see an allergen issue or are worried about cross-contact in the dining hall?

Terri = Speak up immediately! Talk to the managers and chefs, the line cooks won’t know everything that is going on in the kitchen.

45:34 Ingredient substitutions during COVID-19

FALCPA only applies to consumer goods, does not apply to products labeled for food service. Always read labels, they could change whenever!

50:00 Signing a waiver of liability?

Amelia = This should not be legal. The school cannot waive their liability.

51:46 How do you have conversations with your peers about your food allergies?

Imani = The best time to bring it up is during the natural introductions at the beginning of the term. Most conversations are organic, but sometimes you need to be more direct, like those conversations with roommates and resident assistants.

54:19 It is up to you to know the legal landscape about food allergies and celiac disease.

Talk to your student honestly about their needs and expectations.

For more information, check out these resources:

Spokin’s Campus Guides

FAACT’s College Resource Center

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