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University Settlement Puts Gluten-Free Needs on National Stage

January 18, 2013

University Settlement Puts Gluten-Free Needs on National Stage

Recent settlement involving Lesley University sets precedent for gluten-free accommodations, becomes major news story from the Associated Press.

Updated information included.

Update! In response to questions about the settlement agreement with Lesley University, the US Department of Justice posted a Q&A about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and gluten-free meals.

On December 20, 2012, the US Department of Justice announced it reached a settlement agreement with Lesley University in response to a complaint surrounding the lack of gluten-free and food allergy-friendly options on campus with no opportunity for meal plan exemption. This morning, the Associated Press published an article outlining the implications of this settlement agreement for other institutions, launching gluten-related disorders and the gluten-free diet into the spotlight.

The agreement stemmed from a complaint that the University was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), preventing students with special dietary needs from “fully and equally” enjoying services provided by the University. Following an investigation, the Department of Justice and Lesley University entered voluntarily into an agreement that would ensure “reasonable modifications” are made to address the needs of gluten- and allergen-free students..

While the settlement only applies to Lesley University, it sets a precedent in favor of students with special dietary needs and provides a roadmap for gluten- and allergen-free accommodations that other institutions can follow.

The news gained national attention, including an article from the Associated Press. CEO of Beyond Celiac Alice Bast is quoted stating, “All colleges should heed this settlement and take steps to make accommodations. To our community this is definitely a precedent.”

Beyond Celiac encourages institutions to become properly trained in safe gluten-free food preparation. Dining Services managers and staff can register now for GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps, a gluten-free training program run by Beyond Celiac. Available online, the course teaches foodservice professionals how to prepare and serve safe and delicious gluten-free food options.

Beyond Celiac is excited to see such progress in raising awareness of gluten-related disorders and hopes this will make gluten-free options even more widely available to everyone, especially students living on college campuses.

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

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