Hannah Long, News Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the summer, Sodexo implemented a series of changes to the menu at Emory & Henry in the Van Dyke Cafeteria. These changes come after questions and criticisms from students suffering from food allergies.
The most dramatic change is to replace the “Classics” section of the menu with “Simple Servings.” Simple Servings contains no milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten, according to Cafeteria General Manager Sam Walker, who calls them “the big eight allergens.” He said the station is “extremely healthy. If you have any type of concern, whether you’re allergic to any. . . of the big eight you can eat there knowing that will be a non-issue for you.”
Other updates Walker listed include a case of “sliced fresh fruit and roasted, sautéed vegetables.” In the deli, there are “pickled items that we do in-house as well as some spreads.”
Faculty had to go through training this sum- mer to understand how to deal with allergen-safe food. At Simple Servings, Walker said, “There are two or three people who do it daily and that is all they do. They don’t cross-contaminate . . . everything is set up just for them.”
Walker said the idea for the changes came up during an annual meeting this summer. “We have had many, many parents come and contact us previously, so this is another recruiting tool for the school.”
In previous semesters, students found many of the menu items impossible to eat due to allergies. Some found it difficult to get the administration to respond to their concerns.
“I had to fight to not have a meal plan,” wrote senior Abby Hathorn. Hathorn has Celiac disease, which means she can’t eat or have her food come in contact with gluten–a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
She said, “It was really hard to get no meal plan despite the fact I had evidence the food [in the cafeteria] literally made me sick. The gluten-free section often had stale bread, out-of-date items, and mostly sweets rather than healthy options in which I could eat. I gained like 15 pounds within my first year just from the bloat of being sick.”
Now, Hathorn is wary of trying out the new stations in the cafeteria. Her critique is that while the foods have changed, the preparation space is still close enough to unsafe food that contamination could exist.
She explained, “I’m very untrusting of it because I’m not seeing where it’s prepared, where it comes from, but I feel that way about a lot of places I might eat at.” While she thinks “it’s a great effort . . . it still feels like they’re not doing what they could.”
Senior Jordan Hawkins echoed Hathorn’s concerns, and senior Ashley Bostian felt that the food is still “too greasy” despite changes to the menu.
Junior Kauhlil King is happy to see more sh in the Simple Servings area. He said, “I love fish. I’m from Alabama. . .I’m from the gulf [so] I love seafood.”