Duke Dining recently received the FARECheck Gold Status for East Campus dining facilities and became the first university dining program in the country to do so for an entire facility.
Food Allergy Research and Education is a nonprofit organization that focuses on raising food allergy awareness through education and transformative research. After working to meet FARE standards, Marketplace and Trinity Café were officially deemed peanut and tree nut free.
Duke has aimed to respond to feedback from students with food allergies this academic year, including removing almond milk from Duke Dining menus in September 2022.
“Duke Dining met with DUSDAC and Duke Student Government leadership to discuss and agreed on some incremental changes that should be made to the Dining program to protect the health and well-being of all our Duke students and create a more inclusive program,” wrote Robert Coffey, executive director of Duke Dining, in an email to The Chronicle at the time.
The FARECheck Gold Certification for East Union was a rigorous process, according to Duke Dining, including more than six months of auditing and reviews of menus, recipes and ingredients and how dining receives, stores and produces goods.
Ahead of achieving the FARECheck Certification, Duke Dining already required all staff members to complete a basic level of food allergy training before working at campus dining facilities.
Peanuts and tree nuts make up 60% of Duke students’ food allergies, according to Barbara Stokes, director of residential dining.
“This is a collaborative effort to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for our hundreds of students who have food allergies, in addition to the other customers who are part of the 23,000 meals Duke Dining serves every day,” said Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president of Student Affairs, in a release. “Our aim is to create a more welcoming environment for patrons navigating allergies. This way they have deeper, more transparent support from Duke.”
First-year Grace Muriithi, who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, is thankful for this recognition and Duke’s efforts.
“I appreciate the fact that I don't necessarily have to worry about whether or not I'm going to come into contact with one of my allergies, even if it's just by accident,” Muriithi said.
However, Muriithi said that she would like to see the mobile order app cater to the needs of students with allergies as well.
“I did order something from one of the dining locations on campus that does have nuts in it,” she said. “And when I ordered it online, I didn't know that it had one of my allergens in it, and had it not been for a friend letting me know that, then I would have eaten that by accident.”
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Andrew Bae is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.