SAGE Co-Founder and CFO Tina Rodriguez and Director of Nutrition Lesley Vogel recently led a presentation at the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) 2016 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles entitled, “Food Allergies as Disabilities: Is Your Dining Program ADA Compliant?”
Educators and other professionals who serve school-age children are keenly aware that food allergies are serious and on the rise. It is estimated that 1 in 13 children has a food allergy, and that number is growing. According to a 2012 ruling by the Justice Department, food allergies may be defined as a disability, and those suffering from food allergies may be entitled to accommodations in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
SAGE's leadership team has studied food allergies extensively, surveying the venues it serves about the prevalence of food allergies in their communities. Rodriguez has published the white paper, Food Allergies as Disabilities: What the Lesley University Settlement Means for Schools, in which she examines the Justice Department ruling and suggests action items for independent schools. SAGE has developed comprehensive food allergy protocols and training methods for its Team Members, providing careful instructions in reading ingredient labels and avoiding cross contamination. Additionally, SAGE has created an innovative tool for its customers—an online allergen filter that allows students and parents to filter all menus for allergens and choose safe meals.
At the NBOA meeting, Rodriguez and Vogel shared SAGE's practiced approach to food allergies as the leading food service provider for independent schools and colleges.In addition to explaining what it means to be ADA compliant, they provided important guidelines for communicating with students and parents, training staff members, creating balanced menus, and designing servery layouts to limit cross contamination. To demonstrate how technology can be used to ensure safe meals for all students, they presented SAGE's online allergen filter.
Rodriguez states, “Accommodating food allergies isn't something you should be questioning whether or not to do, but rather how you are going to do it. If you're trusted with keeping children safe during school, then it should carry over into the dining hall.”
For more information about SAGE's approach to food allergies, please visit: https://www.sagedining.com/education#allergies.