College Students with Celiac Disease Don’t Have Access to the Gluten-Free Food They Need |

College Students with Celiac Disease Don’t Have Access to the Gluten-Free Food They Need

August 23, 2016

College Students with Celiac Disease Don’t Have Access to the Gluten-Free Food They Need

Survey results show that 60% of students polled would not recommend their university to other gluten-free students. Beyond Celiac offers a solution.

The Problem: Gluten-Free College Students Can’t Eat Safely

The New England Celiac Organization (NECO) conducted a survey of college students living with gluten-related disorders. They discovered that 60% of surveyed students would not recommend their university to others with gluten-free needs.

Beyond Celiac has discovered similar findings in preliminary results from a 2016 survey of college students. Our survey found that the top three concerns of gluten-free college students are2:

  1. Cross-contact
  2. Lack of variety in gluten-free food options
  3. Lack of training by the dining hall staff in safe gluten-free cooking practices

What’s more, 44% of the students surveyed by NECO said that their trouble with getting safe food persisted for their entire time at the university. 30% reported that they have absolutely no solutions for their dietary needs2.

Serving Gluten-Free Students: Two surveys find America's colleges still need better solutions

Get more stats in this infographic! View the full-sized version by clicking the link below or the image to the left:

Serving Gluten-Free Students: Two Surveys Find America’s Colleges Still Need Better Solutions

The Solution: GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps

We have a saying at the Beyond Celiac office: Some foodservice professionals don’t know what they don’t know.

Lots of foodservice professionals are ready and willing to accommodate special needs – they just need the resources and education to do it. That’s where the GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps program comes in. This training program teaches everything about gluten-free cooking from start to finish. GREAT Schools explains celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) so that these professionals truly understand why every step in the cooking process is so important. Only those schools that demonstrate they are successfully putting the program into practice can earn GREAT accreditation.

How You Can Be Part of the Solution: Tell Someone about GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps

Beyond Celiac has all the resources you need to talk to your/your child’s college about taking the GREAT Schools training program. Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Get a quick overview of the GREAT Schools Program on the Beyond Celiac website.

You can learn more about the program here.

Step 2: Download the GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps information sheet from our website and get it in the hands of the right people.

You can mail, e-mail, or hand-deliver information about the GREAT Schools program to the foodservice director of your school. Get a free downloadable handout about the program here. Beyond Celiac can help! If you’d like, our Director of GREAT Kitchens, Beckee Moreland, can reach out to your contact with more information about the program. Get in touch with her at [email protected].

Step 3: Follow up.

It might take a try or two to get the ball rolling at the college or university. Be persistent, patient and kind when following up. Make your case by explaining why the gluten-free diet is needed and talk to the foodservice director about your experiences and the long-term health consequences you face if you continue to be exposed to gluten on a regular basis.

Beyond Celiac has a dedicated website for foodservice professionals. Encourage them to visit

to learn more after you share the informational flyer with them.

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