Food allergies are on the rise with around 3 million US children and teens having to adjust their lifestyles to protect their health. And every fall hundreds of thousands of those kids go off to college where a diligent parent can no longer grocery shop for them and monitor everything that goes into their bodies.
At an elementary school or high school, the school board and principal can create guidelines for protecting students, but this does not happen at college where young people are expected to take responsibility and protect themselves.
What can you do?
Colleges are aware of food allergies, and while they may not partner with you as secondary schools do, they are able to help. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) has been working with college administrators and food service providers to raise awareness and provide diet alternatives.
FAAN is on campus working to make a difference
Of course, big schools have big dining halls and lots of choices. Large kitchens can easily cross contaminate. With large food service staff, things can get lost like food labels. To help with this, FAAN has launched a college network. It’s a searchable database of college administrators and student ambassadors who can answer questions about food allergies on specific campuses. Some campuses offer a special dietary order form which will accommodate allergies. Some college chefs are even using email to alert allergic students on what foods to avoid or which foods are safe.
Communication is key
Talk to your student. Ultimately it’s their responsibility to take care of themselves and understand their particular health issue. It’s part of growing up!
Source: Jackie Burrell, Young Adults Guide