The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Bad experience inspires tips on surviving celiac

 Having celiac disease is always difficult. Not only is it challenging to handle, but when you have it, it is difficult to figure out what you can and cannot eat. I have the misfortune of having severe stomachaches that sometimes lead to me passing out–whenever I eat gluten.

Many of my gluten reactions are results of cross-contamination. This occurs when something that has touched the allergen touches the food. I discovered firsthand that many workers in the food industry have little to no idea how to prevent cross-contamination.

One of my personal experiences with cross-contamination occurred when I ordered a burger at Steak & Shake. The cook put the burger on a bun and then took the bun off and served it to me. This mishandling eventually led to me having an extremely painful stomachache that led to me passing out in the middle of a supermarket.

Mishandling food can happen anywhere, including the Gannon cafeteria. It has made some great improvements in handling food allergies. They have a gluten-free dessert area, a soymilk station and signs that say if the food is gluten-free, vegetarian and/or vegan. Unfortunately, these signs do not always tell the truth. Last year, the cafeteria labeled a food containing barley as gluten-free. Barley contains gluten. They also included oatmeal cookies with the gluten-free desserts. Most people with celiac disease can eat oats, but there are some who react to them.

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This year, the food signs listed incorrect allergy information. In the beginning of September, I noticed one of the soups was listed as gluten-free. I felt thrilled since most of the time, cooks use wheat thickener to make soup. Since I found it hard to believe that the soup didn’t have gluten, I asked a cafeteria worker. It turned out the soup listed was not gluten-free but one of the soups that was not listed was. I soon realized that the mishandling of food allergies can happen anywhere, even in the Gannon cafeteria.

If I can give advice to anyone with food allergies or dietary limitations, I would check to make sure the food is absolutely safe.

Looking off campus, The Sidewalk Cafe makes gluten-free pancakes. If you want to order pizza, Pizza Pete’s Pizzeria sells gluten-free pizza. The sandwich shop, Picasso’s, sells gluten-free sandwiches, but they charge extra for gluten free bread.

Remember, it is always best to double check; a mishandling of food can lead to a trip to the emergency room.

Mike Fujito

[email protected]


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