New Allergy-Free Dining Hall Greets Returning Students at Michigan State

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When classes begin at Michigan State University this week, students with food allergies will have a new all-you-care-to-eat dining option at the renovated space in Owen Hall.

Thrive at Riverwalk Market, which opened at Owen Hall in July, is home to three foodservice stations, all of them are certified free from “The Big 8” most common allergenic foods—milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans—as well as sesame-conscious and gluten-free.

The Residential and Hospitality Services team at Thrive protects the path of food from the loading dock to storage to food prep to service. “When we say allergen-free, it means everything from the serving counter on back through the kitchen won’t have any of those allergens in it,” said Gina Keilen, registered dietitian at MSU in an article on the school's website announcing the venue. “We have test strips that we will do to make sure the allergens aren’t there and everything is in compliance.”

In addition, a third-party accreditor will continually monitor the facility, examining protocols and policies to make sure it’s safe for all students.

Among the menu offerings at Thrive are smoked and rotisserie meats, grain and risotto bowls and chicken strips with various sauces. All students are welcome to eat at the dining hall, though no outside food or drink is allowed.

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