– Before placing your order, inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy –

Table of Contents:


Our Philosophy

We understand that students with food allergies have to exert more effort in managing their diets than their peers without allergies, and experience a more limited selection. That is why we support students with food allergies by providing the knowledge and resources that are necessary for students to make informed food choices in our dining locations.

Our goal is to provide students with the tools and support they need to utilize the dining rooms safely and be active in the management of their food allergy or food-related medical condition on campus. We take into account each individual student’s personal dietary needs and make every effort to help transition students into their new life at Boston University Dining Services.

At Boston University Dining Services, we believe that good nutrition is essential to good health. That’s why we are committed to nourishing each and every student by providing them with healthy, nutritious foods every day.


Our Environment

Avoiding Cross-Contact

Community dining is an important part of creating social spaces and new experiences on campus. With this style of dining, cross-contact of food is possible since about half of the service stations are self-serve. Cross-contact occurs when food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix, creating the potential for an allergic reaction.

We educate and train our employees on food allergies, the dangers of cross-contact, where cross-contact frequently occurs in production and service, and the processes and procedures needed to mitigate this risk.

On our end, we take important steps to reduce cross-contact as much as possible such as:

  • Provide separate service utensils for each item and change them frequently
  • Change gloves and utensils between preparing recipes or different food items.
  • Follow standardized recipes as written as to not introduce any item to a recipe that is not on the recipe card.
  • Perform frequent audits to ensure recipe adherence and assess production processes.

To Avoid Cross-Contact

  • Tell the dining associate you have a food allergy.
  • You may ask a dining associate to change their gloves.
  • You may ask a dining associate to use a new utensil, or a fresh pan at made-to-order stations.
  • Take caution with deep-fried foods. Frying oil is reused before being changed; this can lead to cross-contact because food fried in oil releases some of its protein, which is then absorbed by other foods fried in the same oil. Examples include: fried chicken, fried fish, mozzarella sticks, nuggets, onion rings, and French fries (fried potatoes).
  • Take caution with bakery items. Any items prepared onsite have the potential to have come in contact with other ingredients in the kitchen.
  • At self-service stations like the salad bar or deli you may ask a manager to get any of these foods, produce, or meats from the kitchen where there is less chance for cross-contact.

Your Management

Student responsibilities when managing a food allergy in the residential dining locations:
  • Notify Boston University Dining Services and Disability Services of your allergy(ies).
  • Schedule a meeting with our registered dietitian to develop a plan so you can navigate the dining halls.
  • Be proficient in the self-management of your food allergy(ies).
    • Avoid foods to which you are allergic
    • Recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction
    • Know how and when to tell someone you might be having an allergy-related problem
    • Know how to properly use prescribed medications to treat an allergic reaction. If you have been prescribed epinephrine or other allergy-related medications carry them with you at all times
    • Consider informing friends you normally dine with and your RA about your medical needs in case of an emergency
    • Carry emergency contact information with you
    • Review policies & procedures with Boston University Dining and your physician should a reaction occur
  • Read the station signage, menus, and ingredient information made available upon request and online at bu.edu/dining in order to be better informed.
    • While ingredients are listed on the menu, substitutions can be made at any time, please ask to speak with a manager to check up-to-date ingredient information.
  • When in doubt regarding ingredients or risk of cross-contact of a particular food we recommend asking to speak to a manager on duty. If you do not know who these individuals are, please ask a cashier or another employee on duty, or reach out to dining via Twitter @BUDiningservice
  • If you notice something that is problematic for your allergy, please notify our registered dietitian, executive chef, or manager on duty so that they can look into your concern.

If you have a question at any point, please ask our registered dietitian, executive chef, or manager on duty. If we do not hear from you, we believe that you are successfully navigating the dining locations.


In Case of a Reaction

If you are exhibiting symptoms of an allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis, please take one or more of the following steps:

  • Get help immediately—If you are on campus call Boston University Police Department (617-353-2121). If you are off campus call 911. Always let them know that you are having an allergic reaction. Call 911 or indicate to someone around you to call 911.
  • Administer your epinephrine or take an antihistamine (as prescribed/recommended by your physician). 
  • Notify Boston University Dining staff as soon as possible about your experience so that they can address your concerns.

We make every effort to provide you with the information you need to make decisions about which foods to eat in the residential dining facilities. However, the possibility for a reaction exists in a community dining, largely self-serve setting. If you have been prescribed an epinephrine, you should carry it at all times.


Your Resources

The following services from BU Dining are available to help you manage your food allergy(ies):

  • An individual meeting with BU Dining registered dietitian to receive information and develop an individual plan to help you navigate the residential dining facilities.
  • The executive chef and manager on duty are available in residential dining rooms and retail locations to address questions/concerns and serve as important resources.
  • Introduction to the dining management team to give you direct access to individuals responsible for food preparation.
  • Online menus for each residential dining location can be found at bu.edu/dining.
  • In depth nutrition information for every menu item, manufacturer-provided full ingredient listings and allergen information for those with food allergies, intolerance and/or preferences.
    • While ingredients are listed on the menu, substitutions can be made at any time, please ask to speak with a manager to check up-to-date ingredient information.
  • Signage located at each food station in our residential dining locations outline nutrition information.
  • Nutrition information of retail food items available upon request.
  • Access to the dry and cold food storage in order to review ingredients personally (with advance notice to establish the foods you wish to review, and on what date/time).
  • Access to individually packaged foods to replace bulk items that have a high likelihood of cross-contamination (i.e.,: packets of cream cheese, jelly, and peanut butter).
  • Upon request dining staff will change gloves or use fresh utensils or pans (at made to order stations) to reduce cross-contact concerns.

 

Our Commitment

How We Can Help You

A plan is developed with students with special dietary needs who contact BU Dining.

  1. The student meets with the Sargent Choice Nutrition Center registered dietitian who works with them to review their allergy, gather information on how they have managed their allergy up until now, and provide initial information about how they can navigate the dining locations. Students who need special meal accommodations must register with Boston University Disability Services.
  2. After the initial meeting, the registered dietitian communicates with the Food Service Director at the student’s primary dining location to review the student’s personal dietary needs. This allows Dining Services to begin to consider ways in which they can help the student dine safely. Specially prepared meals can be provided when the daily offerings do not meet an individual’s dietary needs.
  3. For students with additional questions about dining safely on campus, or for students requiring special meal accommodations, a second meeting is held with the student, registered dietitian, Food Service Director, and any other related location manager or chef. This meeting allows the student to meet other individuals who can serve as local resources when they have questions. It also lets the dining staff know who the student is so they are familiar with the student’s specific allergies and concerns. Lastly, the meeting serves to review the food options that are available, and review the steps the student and Dining Services can take to help ensure they can dine safely in the dining room.
  4. On-going evaluation occurs after these initial meetings. After the initial or second meeting, the registered dietitian will meet with or contact the student to inquire as to how they are managing eating in the dining locations. They remind the student that they remain available to them in the future if they have any questions or concerns. If needed the registered dietitian will continue to keep in close contact with the individual and check in periodically to monitor the process and provide assistance when required.

Specific Allergy Information

Always carefully read the menus and ingredient information that are made available to you. Boston University Dining Services endeavors to provide up-to-date ingredient and nutrition information to our community; however, we occasionally make last minute ingredient substitutions that may not be reflected on the online menu in a timely manner. Additionally, manufacturers may change their product formulation without notice at any time. Such changes will impact the accuracy of the information displayed on the website and dining room signage. Students, faculty, staff, and guests with food allergies and celiac disease should also be advised that meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen where cross-contact with allergens is possible; therefore, we cannot guarantee that any item is completely free of allergens. For more detailed information regarding ingredients and cross-contact, we recommend speaking with the BU Dining Services manager on duty. Additional support and services for students with food-related medical conditions is available.

Peanut allergies
Bulk peanut butter is served in the residential dining rooms. Peanuts and peanut oil are not used in dishes served within the Residence Dining Rooms. However, ingredients such as baking mixes, sauces, baked goods, etc., used in dishes can have precautionary allergen labels such as “may contain” or “processed in a facility” statements. Please ask to speak to a manager to review any ingredient information.

Tree nut allergies
Almond milk, coconut, and coconut-containing products are present in the dining rooms. Other tree nuts and tree nut oils are not used in dishes served within the dining rooms. However, ingredients such as baking mixes, sauces, baked goods, etc., used in dishes can have precautionary allergen labels such as “may contain” or “processed in a facility” statements. Please ask to speak to a manager to review any ingredient information.

Fish and Shellfish allergies
Beyond entrées and mixed dishes that contain fish or shellfish as a main component, please use caution when selecting Asian dishes where fish or shellfish may be included in sauces. Additionally, some gravies and barbecue sauces may contain Worcestershire sauce, and foods may contain Caesar dressing which also contain fish. Students with fish and shellfish allergies are asked to check the menus, and direct any ingredient and cross-contact questions to the manager on duty.

Soy allergies
Soybean oil is present in a large variety of products, most notably our oil. Studies have shown that highly refined soy oil is safe to consume for most with a soy allergy; however if you have a severe soy allergy or a medical professional has recommended avoiding soybean oil, there are alternative options for you. Please contact the Registered Dietitian to learn more about your options.   Otherwise, soy-containing products are used throughout the dining rooms. We recommend students with soy allergies contact the Registered Dietitian to discuss how to dine safely.

Milk allergies
Soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk are available every day in the dining rooms. However, milk and milk-based products are ingredients used in many of the menu items served. We recommend students with milk allergies contact the Registered Dietitian to discuss how to dine safely.

Egg allergies
Many of our baked goods and desserts contain eggs. Students are asked to take caution with all baked goods and are encouraged to check ingredient labels of items they wish to eat. Eggs can also be used in products such as pastas, breads, and other dishes. Please ask to speak to a manager to review any ingredient information. We recommend students with severe egg allergies who cannot tolerate cross-contact speak with the Registered Dietitian to discuss how to dine safely.

Wheat allergies
There are two gluten-free kitchens and one gluten-free ingredient station on campus. Other food options in the dining rooms may not contain wheat, but risk of cross-contact is high. To learn more about gluten-free dining please visit the gluten-free page of our website.


Conclusion and Contact

Boston University Dining Services endeavors to provide up-to-date ingredient and nutrition information to our community; however, we occasionally make last minute ingredient substitutions that may not be reflected on the online menu in a timely manner. Additionally, manufacturers may change their product formulation without notice at any time. Such changes will impact the accuracy of the information displayed on the website and dining hall signage. Students, faculty, staff, and guests with food allergies and celiac disease should also be advised that meals are prepared in a commercial kitchen where cross-contact with allergens is possible; therefore, we cannot guarantee that any item is completely free of allergens. For more detailed information regarding ingredients and cross-contact, we recommend speaking with the BU Dining Services manager on duty. Additional support and services for students with food-related medical conditions is available.

Please direct any questions regarding an allergy or food ingredients to any of the following individuals or a manager on duty:

Elizabeth Sauter             
Registered Dietician
617-353-2721
esauter@bu.edu
Marciano Commons Food Service Director
617-358-6977
Warren Towers Food Service Director
617-358-2050
West Campus Food Service Director
617-353-5132