Cafe Mac now celiac-friendly with new gluten-free corner

By Gaby Landeros Fernandez

Cafe Mac launched a new celiac-friendly station for its students last year to ensure that no student goes unfed due to allergies or eating preferences. According to Bon Appetite’s Patty Jacobson, the company saw that celiac disease was on the rise and, in order to give its costumers good service, incorporated the new program. Celiac disease comes from gluten intolerance–meaning grains like barley, wheat, rye and oats cannot be consumed. If eaten, these foods cannot be processed by the digestive system and end up causing the immune system to destroy the small intestines. According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), people with celiac disease are more likely to have type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease and/or intestinal cancer if their diets are not altered to improve digestive conditions. Along with this integration of celiac-friendly foods, Bon Appetite, trying to accommodate the various needs of students, also started to provide more vegetarian and vegan options for all meals. The company now labels all of its dishes and foods. Anyone that goes into Cafe Mac can now tell if the stir-fry is vegetarian, if the pudding is vegan, or if the pasta sauce has beef hidden in it somewhere. Labels have been assigned to every bowl in the salad bar and stickers (“VEG” for vegetarian, “V” for vegan, and “CF for celiac-friendly) have been put up to label what type of food is in any given dish. The highlight of these changes is the new section dedicated solely to celiac-friendly foods (such as gluten-free peanut butter, butter, and jelly). Some desserts are specifically labeled “Celiac-Friendly” so gluten-free students know they can enjoy them without any discomfort. Macalester only has an in-house bakery so the food served at Cafe Mac is never 100% gluten-free, as gluten particles are still present in the bakery and kitchen when the food that is meant to be “gluten free” is cooked. What celiac friendly means in this context is that all gluten free food is prepared separately from wheat and other foods that contain gluten. It is this hard work and close attention to students’ needs that proved to Macalester that Bon Appetite is the ideal food service company.