Their dining program took home the 2023 Allergy Award honors from MenuTrinfo after a tough nomination process
After holding an open nomination process, The University of Arizona was selected as a 2023 MenuTrinfo® Allergy Award Winner for the first time. The awards, in their seventh year, are open to any entity or person(s) who have dedicated program to further allergen awareness, training or certifications for being free from any or all of the major allergens.
University of Arizona was awarded “Best Food Allergy Innovation for Universities,” which was meaningful for Christine Carlson, the university’s Director of Dining and Nutrition. Her work in the allergy space goes back years to 2015, when she had the opportunity to become a Certified AllerTrainer with MenuTrinfo. As one of 12 universities to participate in a pilot for food allergen protection, she jumped at the chance to be at the forefront of a new movement.
“This pilot was the springboard for me to fly to Colorado and train with a group of people, where we got to meet Betsy [Craig, CEO of MenuTrinfo] and the team,” Carlson said. “We jumped to be able to train with their group, and also began to develop Allergen kits to ensure our Resident Advisors were also being trained.”
“I remember when I first visited on campus at University of Arizona and how impressed I was with Christine and her passion for all her students but especially those with special dietary needs,” Craig said. “She was always “all in” to make a difference and today her program leads the country as a trailblazer in full campus solutions.”
Being that a Director for a University’s dining program deals directly with students’ first time being and dining away from home, it’s important to Carlson and the rest of the UAZ staff to have accommodations for everyone.
“Any and every time we revamp the menu, I’m always looking to address needs for those with Celiac and other allergies and push those programs,” Carlson said. “When we meet these parents and students, these are the questions they ask. It’s our job to make sure they know how to access the safest dining options to be sure of what they eat.”
AllerTrain® has been helpful to Carlson and her staff, from the chefs to the managers. Allowing them to know what’s in the food is a great help, which in turn helps students access the nutritional information they need to dine. With a big training on the horizon for the summer, they supplement this with ongoing monthly trainings, huddles and other educational training sessions.
In the University’s mission statement, they preach about inclusive environments, where people are valued for their differences, and being able to take great pride in the student experience. This includes those that suffer from food allergies, which is in alignment with the values of MenuTrinfo.
“We’re so excited to be given this award, and it’s so meaningful to our team and the university as a whole,” Carlson said. “Our goal is to fuel the students here – and we want to make sure to continue doing that as safely as possible.”
“Her innovation and attention to detail on every front is the reason for this wonderful award being given to this great program in 2023,” Betsy Craig added. “A job well done by all University of Arizona team members who make this possible, and special congratulations to Christine. Well deserved!”
MenuTrinfo® is a company dedicated to ensuring safe food service by providing allergen and nutritional information, as well as programs such as Certified Free From™, AllerTrain® and a wide variety of services for colleges, universities, manufacturers of consumer-packaged goods, and more. We excel in employee food allergy training and certification, as well as food safety guidance and menu consulting. MenuTrinfo® has become a trusted partner for food service partners and manufacturers across the United States, and the company’s mission is to protect lives and make dining experiences as safe as possible for those with allergy restrictions.
Photo Credits: University of Arizona,
Top graphic: MenuTrinfo