The US Attorney’s Office announced that Rider University, located in Lawrenceville NJ, has agreed to make accommodations for its students with food allergies after receiving a student complaint.
The unnamed student, a sufferer of celiac disease who required a gluten-free diet, brought the complaint to the US Justice Department in July 2016. A subsequent investigation found that Rider’s food policies violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in failing to make reasonable accommodations for students with food allergies and failing to adequately train its staff regarding such accommodations.
While not admitting to ADA violations, the university agreed to make changes to its policies and procedures to resolve the complaint.
According to Ryder spokeswoman Kristine Brown in a quote to NJ.com, the changes have been underway for some time:
Last fall, Rider opened a new food-preparation station that excludes ingredients that cause major food allergies. Located in the dining hall, the station serves food free of the eight major food allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat and soy. The food provided is also gluten-free.
We will continue to explore ways to provide the healthiest and safest food options for all Rider University students.
As part of the settlement, Rider must also adopt their own policies to accommodate students with food allergies rather than rely on the limited policies of their food vendor, employ a full-time dietician to advise students, and allow students to order meals in advance.
Said US Attorney for New Jersey, Craig Carpenito in a statement:
This agreement will improve the experience of students with food allergy-related disabilities and help them to focus on getting an education.