Kitchens with Confidence, the leading allergen and gluten-free auditing and accreditation firm, completed a gluten-free audit for Cornell Dining's Risley Dining Hall, the company announced. The audit was conducted in an effort to help the university prevent the cross contact of food items containing gluten and included an evaluation of every aspect of the operation—from facility layout, to shipping and receiving, preparation, and sanitation.
"By going through the Kitchens with Confidence audit program Cornell Dining took great measures to prevent cross contact by having a dedicated facility for gluten-free preparation and production," says Betsy Craig, CEO and founder of Kitchens with Confidence. "Cornell went above and beyond by sanitizing the facility, ordering new equipment and revamping their menu and overall, we were extremely impressed with the dedication of this university."
In addition to taking the above measures, the university now uses a dedicated space within the Risley Dining Hall chef’s office where special student meal plans are managed. These meals are stored in a separate area and dedicated utensils are used in their preparation. All meals also are overseen for accuracy by the Risley chef. Additionally, Cornell Dining worked with AllerTrain by MenuTrinfo to eliminate gluten from many of the products they serve. For example, Cornell Dining staff researched ingredients for gluten-free ice cream to be served at Risley.
"My team has spent years trying to find ingredients that are clean, without gluten or allergens. One example is that all of our deli meats are gluten free, across campus, and all of our fries are gluten free, across campus," says Michelle Lefebvre, director of nutrition management at Cornell Dining. "So, Cornell Dining’s main goal is to serve clean ingredients across campus. This is the main reason why Risley was such an easy transition. This has been years in the making with a lot of hard work by many."
Cornell Dining's final certification that will be granted to Risley Dining Hall is a certification that the dining hall free from gluten, wheat, peanuts, and all tree nuts (except for coconuts.) A detailed report is provided to the establishment for their reference and a certificate is granted to them to congratulate their efforts and clarify their status as a dedicated free from facility.
"By taking these measures, Cornell Dining is ensuring they are protecting the lives and health of the students they serve," Craig says. "They should feel proud of their efforts and have established themselves as an example of how all college and university programs should approach their food service operations."
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