Vendors Overlook Students With Food Allergies

CN/Justin Quebral


By Julianne Obregon

With the number of people with food allergies increasing, East Los Angeles College should look into providing better food alternatives on campus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in 2013 that showed an increase of food allergies among children to be approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.

ELAC should have another vendor on campus to accommodate those with food allergies.

On campus, students, faculty and staff have the option to buy food from the Malibu Bagels food truck or buy snacks from vending machines.

They are convenient for those who don’t have time to get food off campus. They may not be helpful for those with food allergies.

ELAC should look into hiring another vendor or having food available for students with food allergies in the new cafeteria after the student center is complete.

According to Food Allergy Research and Education, researchers have estimated that about 15 million Americans have food allergies.

The number of adults that have food allergies have been estimated to be about nine million while the number of children with food allergies are nearly six million.

Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish are eight foods that account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions.

ELAC should offer an online survey to find out how many people on campus have allergies and what those allergies are.

People with food allergies can have a tough time finding food that they can eat, especially for those who have recently discovered that they have food allergies.

Food allergy symptoms can appear within minutes to several hours after consuming a food allergen.

Mild symptoms may include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, hives and itchy mouth.

Severe symptoms may include trouble swallowing, chest pain, loss of consciousness and turning blue.

Other reactions such as bloating, weight gain, and swelling in the lips and throat are some of reactions I have experienced after consuming food that I am allergic to.

Once a person finds out that one is allergic to certain food, one has to adjust their diet by avoiding the food and substituting it for something one can eat.

Most of the time that is easier said than done. With the food truck and vending machines on campus, people with food allergies may find it difficult to avoid foods that they can no longer consume.

According to FARE statistics, even a small consumption of a food allergen can cause a reaction. Most allergic reactions can be attributed to a form of mislabeling or cross-contact during food preparation.

Every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room estimating to about 200,000 emergency visits per year, and every six minutes the reaction is anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction that can affect several areas of the body and may jeopardize breathing and blood circulation.

Food allergies are not curable. If there are more food options on campus, having a food allergy may not be so difficult.

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