Medical Bracelet

Food Allergies and Intolerances

If you are living with a medically diagnosed food allergy or intolerance, Penn State Campus Dining is here to help!  We take food allergies and intolerances very seriously and offer multiple resources to help guests dine safely. 

Entree Cards and Online Menu

Within the dining commons, helpful allergen information is displayed on individual entree cards placed in front of each menu item. Each entree card will identify if major allergens, including dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts (including coconut), soy, wheat/gluten and sesame, are present in the dish via individual icons. Guests can also use the online menu to search for allergen, ingredient and nutrition information. For assistance with accessing allergen information for online menu items, please click here. Campus Dining recognizes that allergic reactions can occur to foods outside of these common allergens, so if you have an allergy or intolerance to any food, you're encouraged to contact a Registered Dietitian for additional support and resources.

Sample entree card found at Penn State Food Services locations

Allergy Alert icons used on entree cards and at Penn State dining locations

Temporary Entree Cards

Although our chefs adhere to standardized recipes, sometimes last minute changes to a recipe may occur before service, which may affect the allergen or nutritional information. In these instances a temporary green entree card will be placed to alert guests that the recipe has not been reviewed for allergen or special dietary concerns. If you have food allergies or follow other special dietary restrictions, please use caution before consuming a food with a temporary entree card and seek assistance from a staff member if you have questions about ingredients. They will be more than happy to help you! 

Sample of a temporary entree card found in Penn State dining locations

Avoiding Cross-Contact 

Cross-contact occurs when an allergen-containing food comes into contact with another food that did not originally contain that allergen. Food allergic guest should be aware that many menu items offered throughout our campus dining commons are self-serve, which introduces an increased risk for allergen cross-contact. Campus dining staff receive annual food allergy training and take every precaution to prevent cross-contact during service, including using separate serving utensils for each food item and keeping service areas clean. However, guests should also demonstrate the following best practices for minimizing their exposure to allergens: 

  • Contact a Registered Dietitian to discuss your food allergies
  • Notify an employee of your allergy/intolerance and ask them to change their gloves before preparing your order 
  • Request a portion of food from a backup pan (including salad bar and deli station toppings)
  • Carry your prescribed epinephrine autoinjector at all times

PURE

Starting in Fall 2017, The Commons at East Food District will now offer a station that is free of common food allergens including dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (excluding coconut), fish, shellfish, soy, wheat/gluten, and sesame. The station includes a separate kitchen and cooking equipment and is full service to prevent allergen/gluten cross-contact. To view the dining hours of PURE, please click here

Join our Listserv!

If you are dining on campus with a severe food allergy or intolerance, consider joining our email listserv to stay informed on any potential recipe or ingredient changes and receive important reminders and tips for safe dining. To join the listserv, send a blank email to 'L-DINING-FOOD-ALLERGIES@LISTS.PSU.EDU' 

Food Allergy Disclaimer

Penn State Campus Dining makes every effort to label food allergens; however manufacturers may change their product formulation or consistency of ingredients without our knowledge and product availability may fluctuate.  Please be aware that food items are prepared in a shared kitchen and do pose a risk for cross-contact.  Therefore, it is ultimately the responsibility of the customer to judge whether or not to question ingredients or to choose to eat selected foods.

Food allergic guests must be their own advocates and exercise caution at all times. Customers who may need to use an Epi-Pen should carry their own while dining.  Penn State Campus Dining will not assume any liability for adverse reactions of foods consumed or for any cross-contact that can and inevitably occurs within a self-service venue. If you have any questions regarding ingredients, please consult the registered dietitian(s) or a dining services manager.

Additional Resources

FARE

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

World Allergy Organization