US Colleges seem to 'get' gluten free (with a little help from the US Dept of Justice)

US Colleges seem to 'get' gluten free (with a little help from the US Dept of Justice)

An interesting development in the US, following a Federal Civil Rights investigation, a college was ordered to 'continually provide gluten free food' to its students and also pay compensation for their failure to provide this previously! This certainly looks like a glimpse into the future..

You can read what's on offer in the colleges now on this link:

b.globe.com/VlMMvn

We found this especially interesting as, although one of the team was past University age when diagnosed with CD, we've often thought about the difficulties trying to throw yourself fully into Uni life while constantly having to think about food. The tempation to slip off the diet rather than bring attention yourself must be strong. Living on baked beans seems more likely to be a fact than a perception of student life for Coeliac students.

Interestingly when coeliacinthecity.com/ posted on their Facebook pages, asking for new or current students to relay their experience of Coeliac living at their current university, and asked did they have the option of gluten free foods in the halls dining rooms etc, the response was very limited. There didn't seem to be the expectation that an educational establishment should or would cater for Coeliacs.

Although it has been the case that many people are diagnosed later in life this does seem to be changing. Perhaps with earlier diagnosis there will be a influx of Coeliac students and a turn around for UK Universities and they will start making provision for an medically essential diet.

Or maybe some universities are currently offering gluten free foods but not publicising it.

(On our recent visit to a university town we asked a couple of student friends whether they had found gluten free foods being offered but there was a resounding no).

5 Replies

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  • Wish they could introduce some kind of law for conference centres too.

    The last one I went to had six catering outlets. The choice was sandwiches, sandwiches made with rustic bread, pizza, pasta, noodles and burgers.

    I ended up living off toblerone for two days.

  • Yes it's a nightmare Poing - we worked at a company before that had great catering facilities but could only offer a gluten free jacket potato or salad every day. The impression was that we should be thankful for that so it's good to see there appears to be a change afoot, even though it has taken a court case to bring it about.

    I think the difficulty is particularly noticeable for students who upto that point may have had their food intake managed mainly by their parents who automatically cooked gf and bought in the goods. To suddenly arrive in a strange city and to find that everyone else in Halls is eating from the dining facility and they then have to try negotiating for food can be quite a big ask.

  • My son is away from home at university. He would prefer to eat a strict gluten free diet. Unfortunately, he's living in a pod with 4 other young men, none of whom eat gluten free. Along with the stresses of living away from home for the first time, having no car to get to good shopping markets, having to fend for himself entirely in terms of laundry, cleaning, making meals etc and very limited financial resources, he finds it difficult to maintain his gluten free diet. I make and send GF food as often as I can, but during stressful times like exams, he's not at his best and always comes home on break, sick. I would love it (and so would he) if he had easy access to more gluten free foods. I think it's a very serious problem for our university students.

  • I've said it many times here; there is nothing in the UK to make sure that Coeliacs are catered for in their place of work (or study).

    We used to have a canteen at work where I might have been able to get a gluten free hot meal if I wanted it. That has been closed down and replaced by a visiting mobile 'snack wagon' selling only gluten. They can't even produce a gluten free salad (not that I would want one).

    I take my own lunch to work. If we have a working lunch all of the food provided contains gluten except the fruit, so I just take and eat my own, much to the surprise of visitors.

    Incidentally, if visitors can't eat certain food for religious reasons they are well catered for.

    This, to me, is the biggest transgression. Religion is a life choice. Coeliac is not.

    When I've flown on business the person booking the flights has not told the airline (British Airways) I would need a gluten free breakfast and I have gone hungry, leaving home at 4:00 a.m. and not eating until 11:00 am.

    I don't want to make a fuss at work because they would do anything to find a way to make me retire early to make it easier for them.

    I suspect legislation will be introduced eventually, but when you work with people who tell you that you shouldn't get gluten free food on prescription you realise it will be a long slow process.

    Too late for me no doubt.

  • Because of the EU & FSA(UK) also CoeliacUK the British Law does not understand that there are Coeliac's who cannot tolerate any gluten. This does need addressing for those in question.

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