Food Allergy Canada promotes improved management of food allergies on campus

On September 15, 2015, the second day of her first year of university, 18-year-old Andrea Mariano died of an anaphylactic reaction after consuming a smoothie that she bought on campus.

In response to this tragedy, AllerGen’s legacy partner Food Allergy Canada (FAC) mobilized to produce new resources to support food-allergic students pursuing post-secondary studies. Presently, some 150,000 Canadians students enrolled in over 225 Canadians universities and colleges are affected by food allergies.

On May 2, 2018, after two years of consultation with stakeholders—including college and university representatives, food service providers, patients and families, clinicians and researchers—FAC launched Allergies and Anaphylaxis: A Guide for Post-Secondary Institutions.

The 71-page publication offers information to help post-secondary institutions develop food allergy policies to support their students living with food allergy. The guide addresses, among other issues: allergen protocols at foodservice outlets, campus awareness and education, housing and dining procedures, and considerations for making stock epinephrine auto-injectors widely available.

“The guide will be a first step in a comprehensive strategy to enable teens and young adults to better manage their allergies with the support of their communities,” explained Jennifer Gerdts, Executive Director of FAC, in a press release.

The guide can be downloaded from a page on the FAC website that also contains: a food allergy management quiz for institutions to assess how they currently manage food allergies on campus; a video that outlines the benefits of the guide; additional resources and tools for institutions and students; and a personal dedication to Andrea Mariano.

AllerGen legacy partner the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) contributed significantly to the development of the guide by providing a medical review of its contents. AllerGen investigators Drs Anne Ellis, Allan Becker, Moshe Ben-Shoshan, Elinor Simons, and Susan Waserman also provided expert input. McMaster University, AllerGen’s host institution, hosted the official launch event for the guide.

Food Allergy Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians with food allergies and those who care for them.