No Ifs, Ands or Nuts

DI Dining is certified nut-free for peanuts, tree nuts and coconuts, the first college campus to acquire the certification

Students with peanut, tree nut or coconut allergies can be more at ease in DI Dining as it makes history as the first-ever college campus dining facility to be certified free of all three of these allergens. The facility recently obtained the “Certified Free From” certification from MenuTrinfo, one of the nation’s leading food allergy experts.

Kent State University Culinary Services is positioning itself as leader in allergen awareness. This certification is a testament to the long-term commitment to dietary needs and restrictions on campus and marks a significant milestone for the university’s dedication to the cause. As food allergies become more prevalent on our campus, this is a step in the right direction to creating a universal safe dining environment for students.          

These measures are fully in keeping with Kent State’s values of respect, kindness and purpose, with respect to our students' dietary needs and restrictions and purpose in making dining spaces safe, welcoming and inclusive for all.

Kent State Culinary Services team members proudly display their Nut-Free Certificate
Members of the University Culinary Services team proudly present their nut-free certification. 


Hard work and dedication has paid off

This certification has been a long-term project for campus dietitian, Sarah Korzan, stating, “After months of work from our entire Design Innovation Hub dining team, we can now proudly post our certified free from peanuts, tree nuts and coconut certificate!” This certification was granted only after a long and rigorous assessment and auditing procedure conducted by MenuTrinfo.   

Although the process to the certification was “hectic,” according to DeVante Williams, a cook at DI, it is worth it to be a safe space for students with these allergies. “The response has been great from students ... and (they) are glad we’re taking so much precaution.”

Special care and culinary accommodations

DI Dining's commitment to allergen safety goes beyond the certification itself. The dining hall has implemented robust procedures to prevent cross-contamination, trained its staff extensively, and collaborated closely with student advocates to ensure best practices moving forward.

One constriction to a fully peanut-, tree nut- and coconut-free dining hall is access to students’ favorite recipes. In order to help fill those gaps, alternative products are being brought in to help substitute allergen products.

Jacob Wittal, lead food service worker, is dedicated to "the hard work." He stated, “We’re always on the lookout to make sure we’re nut free, even with new products, because we know how important it is to eat somewhere safely without having to worry about a reaction.”

POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2024 12:23 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 12, 2024 08:55 AM
Phil B. Soencksen
Photos by Kent State University Culinary Services