Dining With Allergies
What Can You Do?
A team approach, led by you, our educated consumer, is the best preparation for a safe school year free of allergic reactions. Some steps you can take throughout the year include:
Step 1: Carry Your Medication
Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector (2 is recommended), just in case. The Queen’s Emergency Report Centre is available 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency, call 613-533-6111 or use the Blue Light Emergency Phone. Download the SeQure App for quick access to Campus Security and Emergency Services resources.
Step 2: Book an Appointment
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to book a one-on-one confidential appointment with our Hospitality Services’ Registered Dietitian, Jessica Bertrand. You will be provided with information and assistance to ensure you have safe, delicious and nutritious choices across campus.
Location: Victoria Hall, Room E022
Step 3: Review Allergen Labels
Review allergen labels displayed at each station in the dining hall before choosing your meal each day. The following allergens are labelled: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, sesame, mustard, wheat (gluten), fish, shellfish, sulphites. Never consume foods that do not have allergen information displayed and be aware of the risk of cross contamination, especially for areas of self serve. While we make every effort to reduce cross-contamination of food allergens, we rely on manufacturer ingredient details, and there is always the potential for cross-contamination with other allergen-containing food items. Students with anaphylactic allergies are encouraged to ask for the chef who can gather ingredients from back up ingredients and take additional precautions to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Step 4: Ask Before You Eat
Ask to speak with a chef or manager prior to placing your order each day to discuss safe dining options as ingredients could vary at any given meal. The only way your food server will know of your allergies is if you tell them. The chef is wearing the tall white hat! In Ban Righ Dining Hall, you can ask the cashier or employee at True Balance to call for a chef. In Leonard Dining Hall, ask the employee at True Balance to call for a chef as well. At Jean Royce Dining Hall, you can ask the staff member at the entree line to call for a chef.
Step 5: Wear an Identifier
Consider wearing medical identification (e.g. MedicAlert bracelet or necklace).
Step 6: Tell Others
Tell those you have regular contact with about your allergy including don, roommate, floor mate, housemate, teammate and friends. Let them know where you keep your medication so they can quickly help you in the event of a reaction. If they have not used an epinephrine auto injector, they can learn by watching this how-to video.
Step 7: Learn more about allergy management at the links below:
Resources on Food Allergy Canada for more ways to stay safe when away from home
Information and resources on Student Affairs webpage.
If you require room accommodation as part of your allergy management, please visit the residence accommodation page to access the required form and instructions.
We want to create an exceptional dining experience for you and knowing about your food allergy/dietary needs will help us do just that!
What We Do in the Dining Halls:
1. Online Menus
Our daily dining hall menus are posted on the Hospitality Services website here. Allergens are not listed, so please always “Ask Before You Eat” in the dining halls and read the menu boards at each station as ingredients could vary at any given meal
2. Allergy Training
Our food-service staff are provided with yearly allergy training and our management team undergoes mandatory allergy certification from AllerTrain to understand the seriousness of allergies and how to safely accommodate students.
3. Allergy Station
Leonard and Ban Righ Dining Hall have a ‘true balance’ station that uses only products with ingredient statements that exclude all of the following: eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy wheat/gluten. More information on True Balance can be found here.
4. Menu Boards
Our recipes featured in all three dining halls highlight common allergens including milk, eggs, soy, sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, fish, shellfish, wheat, sulphites, and gluten based on ingredient labels statements. Even if a dish looks familiar, be sure to read the allergen statement each time as ingredients can vary at any given meal. Please always “Ask Before You Eat” as our kitchen is not allergen-free. While we make every effort to avoid cross-contamination of food allergens, we rely on manufacturer ingredient details, and there is always the potential for cross-contamination with other allergen-containing food items. Students with anaphylactic allergies are encouraged to ask for the chef who can gather ingredients from back up ingredients and take additional precautions to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
5. Jean Royce Dining Hall
Jean Royce Dining Hall (West Campus) is our smallest dining hall on campus. Although there isn’t a specific true balance station, the chef will personally prepare individual meals upon request that meet your allergy and dietary needs. Accommodations can also be made in advance. Always speak with a chef or dining hall manager prior to eating.
6. Gluten Free Friendly Pantry
All three of our dining halls have a Gluten-Free Friendly Pantry that allows you to independently access gluten-free food items as well as dedicated toasters and preparation areas (Note: self serve items are limited with COVID-19, ask for a chef or manager for question). More information on the gluten-free pantry can be found here.
We do not recommend student with anaphylactic allergies to eat dessert items that are produced in the on campus bake shop due to the risk of cross-contamination. Instead, we have prepackaged dessert items (including peanut/tree nuts free) that are available upon request from the dessert station and/or chef.
Additional arrangements can be made if your dietary needs are unable to be met with the daily menu offerings. Wherever you are living on campus, we have measures in place to ensure you will be provided with safe, nutritious and delicious meals.
Queen’s Hospitality Services understands the seriousness of food allergies. A team approach is the best preparation for a safe school year free of allergic reactions.
Hospitality Services makes every effort is made to instruct our food production team on the severity of food allergies and safe handling procedures. Our chefs and management team are also AllerTrain certified on managing food allergens and gluten.
However, there is always a risk of cross contamination due to the nature of the business as Hospitality Services does not have an allergen free facility. There is also a risk that sourced foods from manufacturers we use could change the formulation at any time without our knowledge. Therefore, we cannot assume any liability for adverse reactions.
Although Hospitality Services makes every effort to identify ingredients and avoid cross-contamination, it is the responsibility of any individual with food allergies to self identify and ask for assistance when ordering food. Customers with allergies need to be aware of the risks, need to be diligent in managing their diet and are encouraged to carry their epinephrine device at all times. Customers are encouraged to “Ask Before you Eat”: please ask to speak with a Chef or Manager when in doubt. Customers can also book an appointment with the Hospitality Services’ Registered Dietitian for further support. It is better to err on the side of caution than take risks when it comes to food safety.
We will do our best to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience when visiting our foodservice locations.
If you have further questions about Hospitality Services Allergy Program, please email email@example.com.
Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Applied Nutrition and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, which included a semester in Melbourne, Australia. Jessica also completed a diploma in Food and Nutrition Management and is an Allergy Certified Master Trainer through AllerTrain.
Jessica is dedicated to making the food on campus more delicious, nutritious, sustainable, and easier to navigate for those with allergies and dietary needs. She looks forward to meeting students across campus and helping them build lifelong healthy habits.
As a hospitality employee, Jessica’s confidential nutrition appointments are limited to students eating on campus. However, she is happy to discuss the many food service options available on campus with you.
To contact another Registered Dietitian in the area who will be able to help with your personal nutrition counselling, please search for one here or reach one by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
Colin has been with Queen’s since 1993, and is the Allergy and Alternative Diets contact for students and parents. A Red Seal certified chef, Colin worked in several restaurant kitchens before joining the university as a Sous Chef. He has held a number of positions within Hospitality Services, and has been the Campus Executive Chef since 2006.
Along with training from George Brown and the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Colin was named Sodexo Chef of the Year in 2004 and 2010, and was the team leader on the Silver Medal and People’s Choice winner team for the 2008 Canadian College and University Food Services Association’s Chef Competition. He was also a member of the Silver Medal team on the 2002 North America Culinary Competition, and the Executive Sous Chef at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Colin is passionate about local food, and also loves catching the latest Alton Brown episode on the Food Network. His favourite food is braised lamb shanks – and if you ask him, he’d be glad to give you the perfect recipe.
For students with an allergy / dietary need, book an appointment with our team here:
Queen’s University Hospitality Services takes food allergies very seriously. We understand the importance of providing nutritious choices across campus that meet your dietary needs. We ask that you also follow your steps 3 and 4 each day. Together, we can create a safe and exceptional dining experience for you.
Food photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com