Health, Safety, and Respectfulness in the Dining Hall
A Guide for Users of Grinnell College Dining Services
Your Role in Food Safety
Avoid cross-contact and cross-contamination
Did you know simple steps on your part can make it possible for others to use the dining hall while staying safe and true to their beliefs? Your fellow diners include many people with dietary restrictions because of medical conditions, food allergies, and moral and religious convictions.
This means some cannot eat safely at the dining hall unless we all help create a safe and welcoming environment.
To show respect for others and keep yourself and others safe, please:
- Wash your hands before serving, dishing up, or picking up food. Washing your hands breaks down and removes contaminates such as allergens, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Bathrooms are available in the hallway near the dining hall entrance.
- Use hand sanitizer. Sanitizer will kill some pathogens on the skin. However, it does not remove allergens. You can still transfer allergens and some pathogens if you only use sanitizer.
- Always use a clean plate, bowl, cup, or glass when returning for second portions to prevent cross-contact and cross-contamination.
- Allow serving utensils to come in contact with other food on your plate.
- Allow one kind of food to fall into another food when you are dishing them up.
- Take gluten containing foods to the gluten free venue.
- Take non-Halal foods to the Halal venue.
- Take foods with animal products to the Vegan venue.
- Do not take food from the Halal venue if you do not observe a Halal diet.
- Do not take food from the gluten-free venue if you do not observe a gluten-free diet or have allergies to gluten-containing foods.
- Do not take food from the Nut Station to any other food station.
Please let staff know if you accidentally cause cross-contamination or cross-contact for a utensil or food. Staff can then take steps to replace the utensils or contaminated food.
Navigating the Dining Hall
Find nutrition, ingredient, and allergen information using our NetNutrition™ program.
All of our foods are prepared in a facility where peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, milk, and eggs are also prepared. Efforts are made to keep foods separate, but cross-contamination is possible.
- Check signs near the point of service for food allergens in each food. An allergen icon legend is located at each food venue.
Gluten Free (GF)
- GF foods are at the very east end of the servery (past the stir fry, Halal, and vegan stations).
- GF toaster and breads, bagels, condiments, and cereals are behind the GF Station.
- Butter, Smart Balance, and cream cheese are in the refrigerator under the GF toaster and breads.
- Pasta Station has GF pasta, which takes 2-3 minutes longer to prepare. Use a purple bowl or request gluten free.
- Halal foods are at the very east end of the servery (past the stir fry station).
- A separate table for room temperature foods containing peanuts and tree nuts is located near the salad bar.
- Hot foods containing nuts may be served at other venues within the Marketplace and are labeled with their allergens on cards or signs at the point of service.
- Vegan foods are located at the very east end of the servery (past the stir fry and Halal stations).
Medical Diets for Gluten Free Diners
The Medical Diet area is in the Cozy Dining Room.
The freezer contains additional GF items such as quinoa, lentils, ice cream, muffins, cookies. It has the lower temperature reading on the digital readout in the upper left hand corner.
The cooler, which has a higher temperature reading, contains almond milk, unsweetened rice milk, individually packed sliced cheeses and meats, boiled eggs, and some alternative buttery spreads.
Purple Bowls at the Honor G Grill and Pasta Station
If you experience adverse food reactions you can use a purple bowl — found behind the GF station — to let staff know they need to prepare your food with an allergen kit. An allergen kit is a sealed box that contains all necessary equipment to prepare foods safely for allergenic students.
Simply take a bowl to the Pasta or Grill station as a visual cue for staff. You can also make a verbal request for the allergen kit to the chef assisting you. Our staff will take the necessary precautions in preparing your food.
Purple bowls are heat resistant and work well to microwave foods.
Honor G Grill — you can request a grilled chicken breast or a vegan burger any time the grill is open. A burger without a bun or any of the toppings is also available upon request. Please remember to use a purple bowl if you have allergies.
If you have a need for additional food products to meet your medical needs, or desire a dietary consultation, please contact our registered dietitian.
Food Preference and Allergy Definitions
- Celiac Disease
- A serious autoimmune disorder which leads to small intestinal damage such that nutrients cannot be absorbed properly when persons with this disease eat gluten (a protein found in barley, rye and wheat).
- Associated with long-term health conditions such as anemia, osteopenia, infertility and miscarriage, central and peripheral nervous system disorders, intestinal lymphomas, and other gastrointestinal cancers and neurological malfunctions.
- When an allergen-containing food, surface, or utensil comes in contact with a non-allergenic food, the previously non-allergenic food becomes contaminated.
- Safe practices must be followed by diners and foodservice staff to assure allergen ingredients do not spill or come in contact with non-allergen foods.
- Food Allergies
- An allergic reaction is an abnormal response by the body’s immune system to a food that is eaten. Allergic reactions can range in severity from mild to life-threatening.
- Avoidance of foods which cause an allergic reaction is the only certain way to prevent a potentially serious, even life-threatening, reaction.
- College students with food allergies are faced with dietary challenges when eating in the dining hall. They have full responsibility for all of the foods they eat. They therefore must take time to read food ingredient labels, have knowledge of “hidden” ingredients, and be aware of cross-contact and cross-contamination of foods which they eat. In order to eat safely, selecting foods to eat in the dining hall requires diligence on the part of the student.
- Food that is permissible according to Islamic law and, if meat, has been slaughtered humanely and with an appropriate prayer.
- Halal meat cannot be meat from a forbidden animal such as a pig (pork), from a meat eating animal, or from a bird of prey.
- Food must not contain alcohol.
- A person who does not eat anything of animal origin, including honey, dairy, eggs, fish, meat, and any product containing any of these.