food allergies


Food Allergy Awareness – Shining a light on food allergies

Food allergies are increasingly prevalent among Stanford students and the trend is expected to continue. Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) Stanford Dining’s
Food Allergies @ Stanford program offers a robust program of accommodations to support the more than 200 Stanford undergraduates – and Stanford faculty and staff – with medically documented food allergies and specialized dietary needs.   

For students, “College is typically the first time young adults live on their own,” says Cassidy Willingham, MS, RDN, Stanford Dining Food Allergy Program Nutritionist. “On top of meeting new friends and academic pressures, they’re also faced with managing food allergies and special dietary needs. Stanford Dining offers a variety of resources to help these students navigate our campus dining halls.”

Stanford Dining has partnered with the non-profit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) to adopt best practices for managing food allergies in a college and university setting. Shirley Everett, senior associate vice provost, affirms that “We want students and the greater university community to know that R&DE is a committed partner in assisting them with dietary choices throughout their time at Stanford. Providing a variety of menu options for diners who have food allergies, food restrictions and/or special diets is an essential component of high quality and nutritious cuisine and at the core of R&DE service excellence.”

As soon as students arrive on campus for New Student Orientation in September – or on the occasions they reach out before arriving – they are encouraged to notify R&DE of their food allergy and meet individually with Willingham to determine a dining strategy that best meets their needs.

In addition to the nutritionist, a student’s support team could include chefs and managers who work together to ensure an exceptional dining experience that meets the student’s specific needs. Each Stanford Dining staff member receives ongoing training on how to accommodate students with special dietary needs. The courses are taught by Willingham, a certified food allergy master trainer.

R&DE Stanford Dining offers the following accommodations to help students with allergies:

  • Menu labels are posted throughout the dining halls and common allergens are indicated on weekly menus posted to Stanford Dining’s Facebook page. In addition to identifying the top ten allergens —coconut, egg, fish, milk, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, wheat – dishes are designated vegetarian (V), vegan (VGN)
    and gluten free (GF).
  • Fresh Plates are available upon request. A member of the dining staff will assemble a meal from the available offerings using new gloves and clean serving utensils with food from the kitchen that has not come into contact with potential allergens on the serving line.
  • Purple Pantries are located in each of the 8 dining halls. Why purple? It’s the national color to indicate allergy-friendly food and equipment. Each pantry is stocked with a variety of allergy-friendly breads, condiments, beverages, snacks, and baked goods from a local allergy-friendly bakery.  Students must be registered with the Food Allergies @Stanford program to access the Purple Pantries.
  • Allergy-friendly Meals are available for those with severe or highly complex food allergies and can be made to order on designated allergy-friendly equipment. Meal can be ordered through an online ordering system with at least 24 hours advance notice. Students must be registered with the Food Allergies @Stanford program to access the online ordering system.

R&DE Stanford Dining strives to provide delicious, nutritious meals that meet the diverse needs and preferences of the Stanford community. Students, faculty and staff who have questions about dining with food allergies are encouraged to contact for support and more information on registering for dining accommodations.