Navigating Baker with Dietary Restrictions

(Posted March 4, 2014)

Students with dietary restrictions find a variety of selections in Baker Refectory. Photography by Kelly Russo, '14

As a vegan, I find myself spending the first few minutes in Baker reading ingredient labels. I can always find something to eat, but it's certainly not as simple as when I didn't have this dietary restriction. Sodexo has recently been working to provide students who have dietary restrictions such as gluten and dairy allergies with more food options. Chef Patrick Goodman, executive chef for Sodexo, explains what steps Sodexo is taking to accommodate students with dietary restrictions. I also spoke to students with food allergies to hear how they navigate Baker.

Chef Patrick Goodman, Sodexo

"We're in a transition period right now. The gluten-free diet is becoming more popular among the student population. In Baker, every station has a gluten-free option available for lunch and dinner. We also have a station specifically for gluten-free products that is available all day. We offer gluten-free pizza crusts, pastas, and rolls for the grill line. We have a gluten-free fryer in the back, so that anything fried won't be contaminated. Students can come up and ask if they can have gluten-free fries and we'll prepare it. We are very willing to work with prospective students with dietary restrictions. We meet with families and discuss options."

"When we return from spring break, Sodexo will be offering a new line called "Simple Servings" and that line is based on 7 of the 8 most common allergens. It will be 100 percent free of all those allergens, so that the student or guest won't feel that they have to look through all of the ingredient lists or ask the workers, because the food will not contain any of them. Most of the sides will be vegan as well, due to the nature of the allergens. This line will be a healthy option for everyone, not just those with dietary restrictions."

Michael Melvin '14 Philadelphia, Pa.

"Existing here on campus sometimes isn't easy when you're lactose-intolerant. I have to be particularly careful with selecting foods without any dairy products. Even when my schedule is packed and I'm limited to BAC dining services for lunch (a service which isn't inherently accommodating to students who are lactose-intolerant), Sodexo has been very helpful in assisting me with my allergy by special ordering lactose-free meals from Muddy (Eagles Landing) on a daily basis. If you have a food allergy, make sure you talk to the workers in order for them to assist you too."

Allison Blumling '14 Hummelstown, Pa

"I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance the summer before my sophomore year at Juniata, and the food service here has gradually become even more accommodating than it was then. My go-to's in Baker used to just be the pizza, pasta and deli line, but since the expansion, the Mongolian grill has been my favorite, especially with the rice noodles there. They also added designated gluten-free fryers, toasters and panini grills this year, which allow students with Celiac disease to enjoy their products without cross-contamination. I often tell prospective students about how well the staff here has accommodated my allergy.."

Hannah Jeffery '16, Juniata Online Journalist

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Contact John Wall at or (814) 641-3132 for more information.