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  • Writer's pictureJon Bari

The Gold Standard of School Food Service for Food Allergies including Celiac Disease

As kids head back to school and start eating in their school cafeterias again, parents of students with food allergies and intolerances want to keep their kids safe, well nourished and included in all of the social aspects involving food at school. To that end, it is very instructive to watch this Food Safety video from Sage Dining Services which is one of the nation’s leading providers of sustainable dining services and catering to discerning independent schools and private colleges.

According to Paco Rodriguez, President of Sage Dining Services,

“Food allergies have become the most important part of what we do!”

In this great case study video featuring the Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, Sage presents what we view as the Gold Standard for school food service operators. For example, the video summarizes Sage Dining Service’s approach to Food Safety and Allergen Free dining, including from scratch recipes using best-in-class food safety practices pertaining to Gluten Free food choices and processes to prevent cross contamination.

Sage Dining Service at the Hockaday School in Dallas ,Texas

According to Sage Dining Services,

“We believe that a safe kitchen is the hallmark of a true food service professional. We take food safety seriously so our clients have one less thing to worry about. We follow HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) safety guidelines, use reputable vendors, conduct ongoing training, and provide tools to prevent food allergy reactions.”

Sage Dining Service’s Allergen Awareness is part of their standard operating procedure. For example, Sage Dining’s Menus make the user experience for students and parents very easy and reassuring whereby one can view weekly or daily Menus online or on the Sage Dining App, where you can interactively filter the menu and sort by allergen. According to Sage,

Our innovative online allergen filter allows parents and students to view the ingredients in a dish and plan a safe, delicious meal accordingly. This comprehensive educational tool empowers guests with food allergies to manage their diets in our safe, transparent dining environments.”

According to the University of Chicago’s 2018 Year End Report, “Living healthily with Celiac Disease requires skill in negotiating the everyday environment — especially for children and teens, where most positive social encounters, from school lunches to prom, is organized around food.”

According to the Hockaday School’s Dining information online,

“SAGE provides national expertise on allergy accommodations and ADA compliance. All SAGE Team Members are extensively trained in food allergy awareness. Parents are welcome to schedule times to visit the kitchen and ask about inventories and preparation methods. Sage’s innovative online allergen filter and comprehensive ingredient list allow you to plan ahead every day.”

We think that this Sage’s video speaks effectively to many families’ concerns with food allergies including Celiac Disease, specifically with Sage’s efforts to avoid cross contamination (i.e., using signage to mark “Gluten Free Zone”, making foods from scratch, using a finite list of ingredients and posting all ingredients online, etc.). Sage’s video also effectively speaks to Sage’s different constituents’ mutual shared interests: students, parents, school administrators, and Sage.

In just 96 seconds, Sage Dining Service’s video establishes the Gold Standard that all school food service providers would be well served to emulate.

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