AUBURN, WA (September 13th, 2016) – The University of Toronto Mississauga has become the first Canadian university campus to offer a certified gluten-free outlet to the student body and faculty. ‘fusion 5 Asian Food Box’ launched on Sept. 6, 2016 in the Temporary Food Court in U of T Mississauga’s Davis Building, coinciding with the start of the fall semester for the 2016 academic year. (1)
- “We are receiving more and more requests from diners with dietary restrictions,” said Andrea De Vito, assistant director, Retail Services and Administration. “We wanted to be proactive and offer services with confidence that we were limiting exposure to allergens.” (2)
Gluten-Free Food Service Certification Program
The Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) Certification Program, a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group, is a proven model of established best practices for food service establishments offering gluten-free options. Certifications and protocols are customized to the specific needs of each food service establishment who works with GFFS; including considered factors such as facility size, number of locations, and the type of food establishment. (1)
All products sold at ‘fusion 5’ have been certified gluten-free and are safe to consume for individuals with gluten allergies. ‘fusion 5’s’ menu is Asian-inspired and meets a variety of dietary requirements. The menu features halal and vegetarian options, and does not include dairy, shellfish or peanut products.
- “We are excited to become the first university campus in Canada to offer a certified gluten-free dining option to our students, staff and faculty,” says Professor Ulrich Krull, Interim Vice-President and Principal, U of T Mississauga. “The menu at fusion 5 will accommodate growing demand from those who wish to avoid gluten because of allergies or other concerns. With this expansion of dining options, we are pleased to offer nutritious and delicious meals that meet a wide variety of dietary needs.” (1)
Customers choose five components, starting with a base of jasmine or brown rice, chilled rice noodles, shredded Napa cabbage or mixed salad greens. The base is topped with a protein selection (soy basil salmon, Saigon tofu or braised chicken, beef); three vegetable choices (roasted corn, sautéed peppers, roasted green beans, charred sweet potatoes, eggplant lemongrass or five-spice mushrooms); a choice of sauces (sweet-and-sour tamarind, Thai green sauce, Sweet chili pineapple or Malaysian coconut); and a topping (pickled veggies, crispy shallots, fresh herbs, fresh Thai chilies or roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds).
- “We are excited to help another facility cater to the needs of the gluten-free university community,” says Channon Quinn, Vice President of Food Safety for GIG. “It can be very difficult for young gluten-free adults to find safe food offerings without leaving the campus area. The university and fusion 5’s decision to become gluten-free certified through our GFFS program shows their commitment to those who follow a specialized diet plan. We hope that other facilities follow their example to help these students even more.”
To meet certification standards, UTM’s campus food services team developed a new menu, renovated a food preparation and service station and implemented new protocols for handling, preparing and serving foods. Ingredients used in the dishes are carefully vetted to include only products from certified gluten-free suppliers and are delivered directly to the food station, bypassing the central campus kitchen to avoid cross-contamination with other food products. All food preparation is handled in the station using purple utensils, which are washed in a dedicated on-site dishwasher to further reduce exposure to gluten. Staff who work in the station receive special training and are limited to serving only at fusion 5 in any shift. (2)
Kimberly Green, a registered dietitian with UTM’s Health & Counselling Centre, welcomed the news,
- “For those who have celiac disease, the only treatment is diet therapy, including adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. Ingesting even very small amounts of gluten, like using the same toaster that someone else used for wheat bread, can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including abdominal pain,” she says. “The launch of fusion 5 will provide a new dining option for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.” (1)
Says Michael Jeronimo, general manager, Chartwell’s,
- “At UTM Dining Services, we are committed to providing students and staff with the best possible foodservice experience and with the launch of fusion 5 we are taking that commitment to the next level,” “fusion 5 will allow us to offer those individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance a certified gluten-free foodservice offering where they can feel comfortable knowing that we are applying industry leading standards to ensure that their food is free of gluten. In addition, they can experience great tasting, nutritious gluten-free Asian style cuisine that is made to order.” (2)
‘fusion 5′ will be open Monday to Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, please visit U of T Mississauga’s Hospitality & Retail Services website at https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/hospitality/food-service
About the University of Toronto Mississauga
Founded in 1967, the University of Toronto Mississauga is one of three campuses of the University of Toronto, Canada’s largest university. Home to 14,000 undergraduate students, 600 graduate students, over 2,500 full- and part-time employees as well as over 54,000 alumni, the campus is located on 225 acres of protected green belt along the Credit River. U of T Mississauga has 15 academic departments and offers 147 programs and 90 areas of study. It is a place where talent and ideas converge to meet global challenges.