Opinion

Food allergies no laughing matter

They walk among you. You may not be able to tell at first or even second glance, but they’re your classmates, your professors, your roommates and your friends.

They’re people with food allergies.

You’ll recognize them when their eyes swell, their faces break out in hives or when their throats close. Anaphylactic shock is horrifying for bystanders, but imagine the knowledge that your own throat is closing. That’s the risk that those with allergies deal with every day.  Each year, 150-200deaths in the US are attributed to allergic reactions to food.

Food allergies are a pain for those afflicted: obnoxious, terrifying, potentially deadly and also terribly misunderstood and underestimated. When those of us with allergies insist that we can’t have wheat, nuts or gluten, we’re not kidding around. That bit of peanut butter on your toast or the onion in your salad could kill someone. Some are even prevented from flying due to the fact that some passenger somewhere on the plane can be stashing peanuts.

By in large, people find it difficult to be considerate to these allergies, protesting rules about children bringing peanut butter in summer camps with dozens of allergic children.  In Canada, it’s common practice to regulate food items consumed in an educational or public facility to ensure that everyone has a safe environment.  Here, it is a battle to have one allergen free area in the kitchen or tables – just one station.  Isn’t it a law to provide handicap doors and stalls for those with a physical disability? Eating is just as necessary as using a restroom or walking through a doorway, but those with this type of disability are shoved to the wayside.

Dining services seems to have a hard time grasping that fact. Students’ allergies, which range from the common (nuts, for instance) to the obscure (onions and scallions), can be triggered just by having the culprit nearby. Afflicted students have asked Chartwells to be vigilant regarding the dangers of cross-contamination; still, using the same utensils to make every meal at a dining hall station can throw an onion into an omelet and kill someone. It’s not really so hard to switch tongs or change gloves when making a sandwich.   In very sensitive cases, the residue of an allergen on a table, like that peanut butter you wiped on the seat, can send them into a reaction without even consuming the food.  It’s not being picky or overreacting.  Would you eat in a facility that processed arsenic alongside your food?

We didn’t think so.

Do you think dining services handle food allergy concerns appropriately?

  • Absolutely not, and things need to change. (41%, 9 Votes)
  • Yes, dining services seem to be dealing ok with students' food allergies. (36%, 8 Votes)
  • Unsure. (23%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

Polls Archive

Loading ... Loading ...
October 25, 2009

Reporters

Editorial Board

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst sat on a stage poolside at the ...

Seeking a college experience within a diverse community, this graduate found her home away from home ...

Graduating with Comedic Timing ...

The top graduate from UM's School of Education and Human Development shines in the classroom. ...

‘Part-Time Junior’ Sculpts Her Way to a B.F.A. ...

Students in University of Miami’s School of Communication’s Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy garn ...

Hurricanes earn highest ranking since March 2013. ...

Walker IV recorded a career-high 26 points, seven rebounds in the win over Boston U. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team earned an impressive 65-54 win over No. 20/23 K ...

After its longest break of the season thus far, the University of Miami women's basketball team ...

Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios, a double major in finance and entrepreneurship, was name ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.