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Brown Dining Services

Summer Medical Dietary Accommodations

Tips for dining with a food allergy

  • Know how severe your food allergy or allergies are.
  • Know that if your food allergy or medical condition is life threatening or severely limiting, that you should register with the offices of Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS).
  • Know your symptom(s).
  • Understand the top eight major food allergens (as defined by FALCPA/FDA) and their derivatives as well as any and all ingredients you might be allergic (intolerant) to.
    • Here is a little help-
      • Milk
      • Egg
      • Soy
      • Fish
      • Shellfish
      • Peanut
      • Tree nut
      • Wheat
    *Gluten, or the protein gliadin, inherent in wheat, rye, and barley (oats too, if not grown on dedicated fields) is not a major food allergen. A wheat allergy is not gluten intolerance.
  • Know where to find the weekly dining hall menus.
  • Know where to find and access the weekly ingredient cards for the dining halls.
  • Know what my responsibility (ies) are as a meal contract participant dining on campus with a food allergy.
  • Know the difference between a residential dining hall and a retail operation.
  • Plan ahead.
    • Register with SEAS.
    • Seek out menu information.
    • Seek out ingredient/nutrition information.
  • Maintain a food diary or food record.

Special Dining Requests and Accommodations

Dining Services and Student and Employee Accessibility Services (formerly Disability Support Services) work closely together to address special dietary needs. For most students/attendees with food allergies and special dietary needs, it is possible to navigate the dining system independently.  Please review the information provided below. Some students and attendees may have a higher level of need and may require further assistance or specialized meals which will require registration through Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS) (SEAS, formerly DSS) and documentation of the condition and need. Please read the entire section below to ensure you know which group you fall into and how to safely navigate the Brown Dining System.
Due to the high volume of requests in the summer and the large number of programs offered, we cannot respond to email inquiries about information provided here. Please use the systems indicated below.

Food Allergies

Brown Dining Services understands the needs of food allergic students. Dining Services staff is able to safely and reasonably guide and accommodate students. Most food allergies and intolerances can be managed independently within the dining halls. We cannot accommodate for dietary preferences, however, we can provide students with information around our menus, how to navigate the dining halls for options, and the resources to assist in making meal plan work.
Students/attendees with a single or few food allergies or dietary restrictions should be able to navigate the dining hall menus using the information in this section.
Menu, ingredient and nutritional information are made available weekly for the dining halls. Menus can be found at these links for the Refectory and Verney-Woolley. Weekly ingredient information is linked to from the left side of the menu webpages. Please note that recipes, which may include commercial mixes or dressings, for example, will have additional ingredients (i.e. sub-ingredients) which may not be printed on the ingredient cards.

Life-threatening Food Allergies: How to prepare

Students/attendees with life threatening food allergies who may need to use an epi-pen should be carrying their own. Dining Services staff is NOT trained to administer epi-pens and CANNOT provide or administer them.  Student/attendees should make appropriate people in their program aware of their condition so people can react effectively should emergency medical services be needed.
Circumstances/conditions that require registration through Brown’s SEAS (formerly DSS) to receive additional assistance navigating our system or special meals:
*Documentation guidelines are available electronically and should be provided to the appropriate doctors or clinicians.

Time Frames

Please be aware that all accommodation requests will be considered, however there may be limits as to what can be provided without sufficient notice. Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS) recommends a minimum of two weeks’ notice. This is to ensure that there is time to process the request and for Dining Services to determine how the needs can be best addressed. Please note that a change in programs may also change this time frame. Requests that come in with less time will be addressed on an as possible basis and ONLY IF there is a valid reason the two week notice was not met. Decisions to register for a program on short notice should be made knowing that there will be significant limitations to what (if anything) can be provided.

Kitchen Areas & Dining Hall Serveries

Peanut and tree nut allergies are among the most common allergies reported among students. Brown Dining is NOT a peanut or tree nut free environment. While we do not use peanuts or tree nuts in the majority of our recipes, we do process nuts in our bakeshop, which creates the potential for cross contact and contamination. We also serve peanut butter from bulk containers: peanut butter is offered in both dining halls in designated areas throughout the year and summer. In addition, there is always the potential for food manufacturers to change their formularies. Many food manufacturers also label for: “may contain (particular) allergen”. We do not control for or carry over labeling of products by manufacturers that bear “may contain” or “processed in a facility that also processes” type of labeling. 

Guidance Available in Dining Halls

Dining Services staff is able to direct you to our dining hall menus and ingredients which should assist you in answering your question(s). We do not identify for allergens on our ingredient cards or menus, however, for allergens: peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish, we can reasonably guide you to the information so that you are able to make your own food choices. In the case of a severe and life threatening food allergy or one which substantially limits your food options, especially to wheat, soy, milk and eggs (ingredients much more difficult to identify), again, we suggest you review the section above titled “Life-threatening Food Allergies: How to prepare”.

My Meal

My Meal is an interactive online tool that allows you to view the ingredients, nutrition, and common allergens of the foods we serve at our residential dining halls.

Sample Ingredient Card

Ingredient Card

Student/Attendee Responsibility

Notify the offices of Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS) of your dietary needs if they reach the level of being severe or life threatening  as described above, prior to arriving on campus. Know that Dining Services cannot accommodate students’/attendees’ special dietary needs without prior notification and documentation from SEAS. If you have a question about a specific menu item or recipe, please seek out the following individuals. These are the professional managers who have been trained to handle food allergy related questions in the residential dining hall facility.
If any of these individuals are unavailable to answer your questions, please use good personal judgment; make food selections on the side of caution; and if there is ever a question, please avoid consuming.
*Note: all retail locations on campus are considered areas that may contain peanuts, tree nuts and other allergens. Students should use caution when making selections at these locations.
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