Eating At Tufts with Food Allergies

At Tufts Dining, we take your dietary needs seriously. Students with food allergies and intolerances have access to our registered dietitian for menu consultation and to develop strategies for how to eat based on individual allergies or intolerances. Students can get support from Tufts Dining Center managers and from key culinary staff involved in managing student food needs. Students should also utilize the posted Food Fact Cards which have ingredient and allergen information listed on them. Reviewing this page and the other allergy pages on this site is crucial to understanding your risks and ensuring safe and enjoyable dining experiences at Tufts.

Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center

Dewick, one of the two main dining centers on campus, has a dedicated food pantry for students with tree nut and peanut allergies, wheat allergy, celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). An assortment of safe food choices are stored here, with dedicated Panini presses and toasters to minimize cross-contact. Students interested in accessing the secured pantry must first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and then meet with Julie Lampie, the Tufts Dining registered dietitian, to obtain access. It is important that everyone using the pantry understand and respect the needs of all students using the shared space.

Carmichael Dining Center

In Carmichael, we offer safe foods for students with  tree nut and peanut allergies, wheat allergy, celiac disease, and NCGS. They are kept in a secured, well-stocked refrigerator/freezer in the serving area and a designated cabinet. A dedicated toaster and Panini press are available for students with tree nut, peanut and sesame allergies as well as for students who avoid wheat and gluten.

Food Fact Cards

Both Carmichael and Dewick post Food Fact Cards near multi-ingredient foods that list nutrient facts, ingredients, and the FDA's eight major food allergens plus sesame that may be present. To heighten awareness, all menu items containing peanuts and tree nuts include this information in the title of the dish on the card.

Online nutrition facts, ingredients, and allergens are easily available for food served in all Tufts Dining campus locations. The steps to access the ingredient, nutrition and allergen information are:

  • Go to our website: https://dining.tufts.edu
  • Go to NUTRITION on the top navigation menu
  • Select “Online Nutrition Interface”
  • Select a dining location
  • Click on the “apple” icon
  • Click on the menu item(s) for which you want the nutritional information
  • The ingredients and allergens will be displayed.

Another helpful tool is the allergen filter on our website in the menus section. It can be used to get a list of foods either containing or not containing a chosen allergen.

To set allergen filters to show which menu items either "contain" or "does not contain" the respective allergen(s):

  • Select a location
  • Click on "set filter" in upper right corner of screen
  • "Set allergens filter"pop-up window will appear
  • Select one or more allergens

Select either “contains” or “does not contain” and hit “apply” to get a list of menu items that comply with your selection.

Avoiding Cross Contact

Cross-contact occurs when a food touches another food and the proteins mix. Since most of the food in the dining centers is self-serve, cross-contact is possible.  If you are concerned about cross contact, please follow these steps: 

  • Be aware of shared utensils: students may use one utensil for multiple items.
  • Request food from an uncontaminated source by asking a Tufts Dining staff member.
  • Use the Panini press and toaster specific to your allergy.
  • Avoid deep-fried foods. They may have absorbed proteins from foods previously fried in the same oil. Deep-fried foods are signified by the words “fryolator canola oil” in the ingredient statement. A partial list of deep-fried foods at Tufts Dining: French fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, chicken cutlets, fried zucchini, fried eggplant, mozzarella sticks, fried seafood, Asian appetizers, fried tofu, falafel.

Peanut or Tree Nut Allergies

We recommend that students with tree nut allergies avoid eating pastry and desserts, pizza, unsliced breads, and all pastries and desserts that are not packaged and clearly labeled. Our bakeshop is peanut-free, although a number of baked items contain tree-nuts. There are numerous opportunities for cross-contact with nuts from production, to cutting, to distribution. This recommendation is intended to keep students safe. Students with tree nut allergies can enjoy soft-serve yogurt and ice cream, since all soft-serve flavors are nut- and peanut-free. We offer an assortment of packaged cookies produced in a facility free from tree nuts and peanuts. As a substitute for our homemade pizza with crust made in our bakeshop, try our gluten-free pizza stored in the allergen freezers at both dining centers.

Avoid using the Belgian waffle machines and Panini presses in the serveries. There is a potential of cross-contact from peanut butter and Nutella, both popular additions to sandwiches and waffles.

 In Case of a Reaction

There is always the possibility that a student will mistakenly consume a triggering food, which is why we encourage students with severe allergies to always carry an EpiPen. If you are, or someone near you is, exhibiting severe food allergic reactions or symptoms of anaphylaxis, please take the following steps:

  • Get help immediately
  • Call Tufts Emergency Medical Service at 617-627-6911 or ask a Tufts Dining employee to call 911 from a house phone
  • Administer an EpiPen
  • If you think you are having an anaphylactic reaction, DO NOT return to your room alone

 Additional Services Available to Students with Food Allergies

  • Printed menu cycles with safe foods highlighted
  • An online allergen Filter tool that allows you to print allergen-free menus by location
  • Individually-packaged food instead of bulk items to reduce cross-contact
  • Access to foods specific to a student’s dietary needs may be provided when the quality of the student’s diet is compromised due to a medically restricted diet and appropriate disability documentation is provided. Consult with SAS.
  • A separate toaster and Panini press

Lactose Intolerance

Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie Dining Centers have several options to accommodate lactose-intolerant diets:

  • Lactose-free milk
  • Rice milk
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Vanilla and chocolate soy milk
  • Dairy-free “mozzarella”
  • Soy yogurt
  • Dairy-free margarine
  • Vegan menu items and desserts
  • Sorbet offered when scooped ice cream is featured
  • Milk listed as an allergen on Food Fact Cards

Alternative Meal Program

With the increase in the prevalence and severity of food allergies, eating safely on campus has become more challenging for some students. For students at a higher risk for severe allergic reaction, we have introduced the Alternative Meal Program. This program provides individual meals prepared by trained staff for students that qualify. Registration and approval through Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is required to participate. To learn more about this program, please visit
https://students.tufts.edu/student-accessibility-services

Disclaimer

Tufts Dining does not have gluten-free or allergen-free kitchens. There is always risk for cross-contact with allergens and gluten. We provide annual allergen training with our dining staff to educate them on proper food handling practices to minimize food allergic reactions. We also stress the importance of using a recipe’s exact ingredients to maintain the integrity of the food we prepare, so that posted ingredient and allergen information is accurate. Manufacturers may change product formulations at any time without our knowledge or notice, and although we make every effort to maintain an accurate database, students need to be aware of these risks. The student must take ultimate responsibility for selecting foods that are safe. When in doubt, ask the manager on duty for assistance or choose a different food. It is the responsibility of the individual student to carry any prescribed medication, such as the Epi-Pen, at all times. 

QUESTIONS?

For questions regarding food allergies or intolerances, please contact Julie Lampie, Tufts Dining’s registered dietitian. Julie is familiar with the ingredients in our menu items and is experienced with the food preparation and handling processes at Tufts Dining. She can advise students on ways to manage food allergies or intolerances while at Tufts.

Julie Lampie, Registered Dietitian
Tufts Dining Administration Office
89 Curtis Street
Medford, MA 02155
Phone: 617-627-2833
Email: Julie.Lampie@tufts.edu