• UNF Students

Your Complete Food Allergy Guide

Are you a new Osprey navigating through your dining options around campus or a staff member who is scared to eat at the Cafe. Does eating away from home stress you out? Well, at the University of North Florida it doesn't have to be and we have a full guide to prove it.

Switching from home-cooked meals to finding meals your own meals sounds liberating to some, but to those with food allergies, it can be a frightening experience. 

Living with food allergies and food intolerances is not easy but there are solutions. Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans (10% of our population) have food-related allergies or intolerances.

A food allergy is an immune-mediated response to a food protein in which the body identifies certain foods as harmful and makes a specific antibody (IgE) against that food. (1)  Food allergies can begin in childhood and may go away as you age. However, in adults, food allergies tend to be life long. In other words, the body goes into an attack mode when one of the trouble foods is consumed. This attack may result in itching, swelling, trouble swallowing and breathing, and a drop in blood pressure.


The top eight foods that account for the most common allergies are:

1. Egg

2. Fish 

3. Milk

4. Peanut 

5. Shellfish (shrimp, crayfish, lobster, crab, clam, scallop, mussels)

6. Soy

7. Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.)

8. Wheat

Struggling with a food allergy? We got you!

With that long list of allergens, it may seem like eating on your own is difficult, especially if you are allergic to one or more groups.

UNF Dining Services is committed to helping those with food allergies throughout the campus’s dining locations. Running into trouble eating on campus? Dining services employ trained professionals who have completed Food Allergies and Celiac Disease Training and undergo additional food safety training yearly. And, at any time you may also request to view product labels used within recipes.

DYK? There's a full guide on how to manage your allergy on campus. It's recommended that you first contact the university about your allergy or intolerance with the UNF Disability Resource Center. They can set you up with special accommodations in case anything were to happen. Need more information? Download our guide today!

Here are some additional pointers:

- Always read ingredient labels carefully.

- Know the hidden ingredient names of your potential allergens to prevent any reactions. (There are more 'names' to wheat. Ex: Bran, Einkorn, Emmer, etc.)

- Don’t take risks assuming you can eat something without asking for a set of ingredients first. This may result in an unwanted reaction.

Being a student with a food allergy is stressful and time-consuming. But! DYK, you can visit dineoncampus.com and view the menu for EVERY dining location on campus? A very convenient tool for planning and saving time. You can find the nutrition facts and allergen info on every item on the online menu.

The website may also help you become familiar with where you can eat on campus and where your safe spaces are found. Make socializing with others easier by familiarizing yourself with menu items from restaurants on and surrounding campus.

More resources offered at UNF to manage food allergies include Student Health Services, Housing & Residence Life, Disability Resource Center, and the University Police Department.

One of the best ways Dining Services can help you is:

- Speaking with a UNF dining manager about your allergies so they can provide you with safe food to eat. Your points of contact are Yemila Lowry, Dining Services' Dietitian and Brook Adams, Campus Executive Chef. Reserve an appointment with Yemila so she can provide you with everything UNF has to offer.

- Reporting dining issues/allergic reactions to a manager, director or dietitian.

Stay healthy and safe Ospreys!


(1) https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/education/adults-with-food-allergies/adults-with-food-allergies/

Written by: Melia Azzam

Edited by: Alyssa Fort

UNF Dining Services' Dietitian

Email Yemila: y.lowry@unf.edu

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