Penn State Food Services understands that customers have a variety of tastes and dining preferences.
With this in mind, the dining commons offer an extensive menu filled with a wide range of choices. Our nutrition program and food allergy icons offer students information that is helpful in making wise dining selections.
Mindful of special dietary considerations, the dining commons follow these guidelines:
If you are living with a medically diagnosed food allergy or intolerance, you are not the only one on Penn State's campus! Helpful nutrition information is displayed at Penn State's five dining commons if you wish to remain anonymous. Entrée cards are supplied for each item served in the dining commons, complete with nutritional information about the food item, as well as allergen information. A nutrition assistant screens each recipe for five allergens: milk, wheat gluten, peanuts and treenuts, fish, and eggs. The following symbols are printed on entrée cards if the recipe contains the specific ingredient identified:
Allergy icons on the entree cards are displayed based on recipe ingredients. Cross-contamination with other allergens is possible since the facility receives other foods containing allergens that may not be noted on the entree cards. Further, the dining commons utilize the self-serve style of service.
Our bakery products are produced on equipment which also produces products containing peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, dairy items and/or dried egg powder.
The Berkey Creamery, which supplies numerous dairy products to the dining commons, produces products containing nuts, so inadvertent cross-contamination maybe possible.
There are clear differences between food allergies and food intolerances:
Food Allergies involve the immune system. A protein within a food, known as the allergen, triggers a reaction from the immune system. The body tries to protect itself from the allergen by producing antibodies. These antibodies cause the body to release chemicals, which produces an allergic reaction. Food allergies are severe, yet rare. Only 2% of the adult population has a food allergy.
An allergic reaction can occur immediately or up to two hours after eating the food. As the food enters the mouth, it can trigger a tingling sensation in the mouth and possibly, a swelling of the tongue and throat. Then, as the offending food enters the stomach, it can cause cramping, diarrhea, or vomiting. When the allergen enters the bloodstream, it can cause a drop in blood pressure accompanied by a narrowing of airways, hives, or asthma. Anaphylaxis, a sudden drop in blood pressure, is life threatening. If you experience these symptoms after eating a certain food, it might be possible that you are suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. Seek immediate medical assistance.
Food Intolerances do not involve the immune system, but instead result from a digestive system response. A food intolerance is a metabolic disorder. A natural substance in foods, known as histamine, can sometimes cause a reaction similar to an allergic reaction. Lactose intolerance is one of the most prevalent food intolerances, affecting at least one out of ten people. Yellow dye number 5, MSG (monosodium glutamate), and sulfites are also known food intolerances.
If you have a special dietary need due to a food allergy or intolerance, Penn State's Food Service is willing to help. A student nutrition assistant can provide you with an appropriately highlighted dining commons menu of items to avoid -- depending on your allergy.
Please contact Penn State Food Services to speak with the special programs training coordinator the nutrition assistant at 814-863-1255 if you have any questions or concerns about your food allergy or intolerance. We strongly encourage you to be proactive and seek this assistance.
Penn State Food Services makes every attempt to identify ingredients that may cause allergic reactions for those with food allergies. Every effort is made to instruct our food production staff on the severity of food allergies. In addition, we label items with possible allergen-containing ingredients; however, there is always a risk of contamination. There is also a possibility that manufacturers of the commercial foods we use could change the formulation at any time, without notice. Customers concerned with food allergies need to be aware of this risk. Penn State Campus Dining will not assume any liability for adverse reactions to foods consumed, or items one may come in contact with while eating at any University establishments. Students with food allergies are encouraged to contact Food Services 814-863-1255 for additional information and/or support.
It is typically not possible for the dining commons to provide specific menu items for special diets. A student with special requirements (religious, medical, personal dietary preference, etc.) that cannot be fulfilled by individual selection from the multiple-choice menu offered should not file a Housing and Food Service Contract. If a student has signed the contract and subsequently develops a medical condition requiring a special diet, the student should contact the Office of the Director of University Health Services (UHS), at the Student Health Center, 814-865-6555. The student will need to document the medical justification for any special dietary requirements. If the Director of UHS can confirm special dietary requirements, the Housing and Food Service Contract will be cancelled for the remaining days of the session/semester. A prorated credit will be processed and the student will be required to make alternative housing and food service arrangements. Students with questions about special diets should contact the Assignment Office, 201 Johnston Commons, 814-865-7501 before signing the contract. For more information, see the Food Services section of the terms, conditions, and regulations from the Housing and Food Service Contract.
Students who want to adhere to kosher dietary laws at the University Park campus have many on-campus options. The Campus Dining kosher program features on-campus dining options, as well as an in-room residential room option for kosher microwaves.
Microwave Oven Specifications
Power Supply..........120 V 60 Hz Single Phase with grounding
Output Power.......... 800 W
All of the above specifications are maximums that must not be exceeded for approval and safety.
Contact the Housing Office for your residence area for more information.