Caf needs more allergy-friendly options

By Elizabeth Bacharach

Contributing Writer

Luckily, I am not hindered by many allergies, just a few simple intolerance. Nonetheless, as my first months progress at the University, I am disturbed by the lack of concern for those who have allergies at Bostwick Marketplace.

I am lactose intolerant, meaning I have to be cautious of my dairy intake and I must frequently take Lactaid pills. The reality is, I do not always have a Lactaid on me, but I still would like to be able to eat pleasantly and at my leisure. I am not always so lucky. I have found most of the food at Bostwick Marketplace is made with myriad dairy products: butter, cheese, cream, etc. Yes, a majority of students enjoy these dairy-enhanced edibles, but there is an extreme lack of care for those who cannot eat such ingredients. The Bostwick Marketplace disregards students who are lactose intolerant and blatantly assumes they can eat the dairy-laden food.  Thus, with my stomach growling, I have no choice but to disregard my food barriers and eat what they have to offer. In instances like these, I try to choose the food that incorporates the least amount of dairy.

Another intolerance that is skimmed over by the Bostwick Marketplace is celiac disease, the inability to consume products made with wheat. Glancing over the options, I am stunned by the lack of choices available to these students. Does Bostwick Marketplace really expect these students to eat fruit, salad and eggs three times a day, seven days a week? The inability to eat wheat is hard enough and with such a small selection of choices, eating at the Bostwick Marketplace is that much harder.

My little sister, the allergist’s dream, is allergic to all nuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, legumes, codfish, pears, nectarines, plums, apples and avocados.  I was frightened to take her into the Bostwick Marketplace over Family Weekend in fear that she might collapse in anaphylactic shock. I understand my sister is just one person and not even a student at the University, but you would not believe how common all of her allergies are. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, more than three million people in the United States report being allergic to peanuts, tree nuts or both.

Now, it is quite obvious that my sister, who is fatally allergic to all nuts, is like many students on campus. Students with allergies, especially to nuts, face dangers at the Bostwick Marketplace, especially at the bread and condiments bar. Any ignorant student, faculty member or employee can easily use the peanut butter knife to spread their bagel and then use the jelly knife to spread right on top of the peanut butter. Those with peanut allergies, therefore, cannot dare make a jelly sandwich or a bagel with cream cheese.

Something needs to be done about the lack of care for those with allergies at the Bostwick Marketplace. It does not have to be groundbreaking or revolutionary. Something as simple as a peanut-only area or a gluten-free table can change the culinary world of those with allergies and intolerances at the University. It is truly unfair for people, like your neighbor, your friend and me, to fight to find something they can eat at every meal. So the question is: for such a forward school, why is our cafeteria so behind?

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