As the wellness coordinator in the Office of Human Resources, Kim DeStefano ’05 is motivated by a singular goal—to help faculty and staff members get and stay healthy, whatever that means for them. DeStefano is one half of the two-person…
Food Services Receives 2019 Best Overall Food Allergy Program for Universities
Food Services was recently awarded 2019 Best Overall Food Allergy Program for Universities from AllerTrain by MenuTrinto LLC. The AllerTrain team selected winners from universities and restaurants across the country to recognize outstanding food service leaders in allergy training and safety.
“It is an honor to be recognized with this award,” says Ruth Sullivan, Food Services registered dietitian. “Food Services is committed to providing a safe, worry-free dining experience for our students, faculty and staff. This recognition provides our students with special diets, an additional level of comfort when choosing foods served in our facilities.”
“Food safety is one of Syracuse University Food Services’ highest concerns, and we continually strive to reduce the risk hazards in the food we serve,” says Mark Tewksbury, director of dining and stadium concessions.
Food Services has established standard operating procedures for the handling of food from the moment it is received through storage, production and serving. In addition, Food Services uses the food production program FoodPro to help identify food allergens that may increase the risk of cross-contact in dining centers. These items are replaced with other lower-risk items. To maintain the standard for the certification, weekly food allergen testing is done by Food Services staff.
Consistent training is used to ensure management, cooks and line staff understand the risk of cross-contact. Sullivan is a certified AllerTrain Master Trainer through AllerTrian by MenuTrinfo LLC. This means she is qualified to train Food Services staff members on allergy sensitivities using the AllerTrain U program.
Sullivan points out that Food Services’ dynamic allergy program wouldn’t be possible without the support from several University offices alongside the Food Services management team. Auxiliary Services has encouraged Food Services to get the certification and training necessary to build a successful program. The Office of Student Living, Parents and Family Services, Office of Disability Services, Risk Management, Public Safety and Health Services have all had a part in assisting Food Services in this endeavor.
In order to spread the word to students, Food Services has created signs, food allergy guides, an updated online menu and communicated frequently with students and parents. The management team at Food Services has empowered supervisors and sous chefs to recognize food allergy issues before they become a problem.
Other universities have expressed interest in learning about Syracuse University Food Services’ practices. This past summer, Sullivan was asked to present at The Chef Culinary Conference hosted by UMass Auxiliary Enterprises. The conference is an opportunity for chefs to discuss how to provide great tasting, sustainable, safe and healthy food choices in college and university food services. This year, the conference added nutrition sessions to share effective ideas on how to manage food allergies, intolerances and autoimmune diseases in a college and university dining setting.
Food Services continues to improve our allergy resources through training and certification. The department strives to provide the Syracuse University community with delicious, healthy food options while maintaining its successful approach to food sensitivities. For more information or questions about food allergies, contact Ruth Sullivan at email@example.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.