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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Cafeterias accommodating students with food allergies

Jason+Perkins%2C+executive+chef+for+ECI+catering%2C+serves+up+the+daily+lunch+special+on+South+Campus.+Chefs+on+each+campus+will+work+with+students+who+have+food+allergies.%0D%0ACasey+Holder%2FThe+Collegian
Jason Perkins, executive chef for ECI catering, serves up the daily lunch special on South Campus. Chefs on each campus will work with students who have food allergies. Casey Holder/The Collegian

By Kristina Kopplin/reporter 

Jason Perkins, executive chef for ECI catering, serves up the daily lunch special on South Campus. Chefs on each campus will work with students who have food allergies.
Casey Holder/The Collegian

Many students gather with their friends, decide to go grab some food and have a good meal without even second-guessing what they are actually eating.

For those with food allergies, eating becomes a carefully monitored activity so they don’t infect themselves with something that is harmful and not tolerated by their digestive system.

Common food allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Frequently, people are allergic to multiples of these items.

Eating on campus can be a tricky activity for such students. Some don’t trust others to handle their food and don’t want to risk the likelihood of getting sick.

Jason Perkins, executive chef for ECI Catering on South Campus, said the cafeteria has a designated skillet for those students with allergies and intolerances.

Although he has never had a gluten-free request, Perkins is familiar with the special needs of diets and would prefer if students would inform him of their allergies ahead of time.

Another dining option on South Campus is the coffee shop, Latitude. Offerings include coffees, smoothies, bottled drinks and snacks. Students with allergies, however, need to be aware of additives and boosters in the smoothies. Also, special ingredients in some coffee blends may cause reactions as well.

Celeste Neill, NE Campus chef, is also familiar with food allergies. She has worked with students in the past and can accommodate meals for those in need.

“We offer 100 percent disclosure, which means if a food is contaminated, we will tell you,” she said.

Neill said she understands that many students may be hesitant to dine on campus and appreciates students talking with her beforehand so she can do her best to meet their needs.

Not-so-common allergies also affect students on campus, such as an allergy to fruit or artificial ingredients, such as artificial cinnamon. Sophomore Michelle Ingram has such an allergy.

“Being allergic to artificial cinnamon can be quite a burden, especially at school, because most people like cinnamon gum,” she said. “And if I ever get offered a piece and I forget that I’m allergic, which happens often, and put it in my mouth, I could be faced with a lot of bad consequences.”

As with anywhere students with allergies or intolerances eat, they must be careful what they consume and always read labels to ensure what they eat will agree with them.

Students with questions about food preparation on campuses can contact ECI Catering at 817-515-4990.

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