Rutgers Text-to-Order System

There are a lot of colleges that have specific systems for students with food allergies. When I was taking tours of colleges before beginning my freshman year, many had a designated food allergy station where they served food free of the top eight allergens. I thought this was great, but sometimes it may not be the best idea, because what if I wanted something that contained soy or wheat? I couldn't get it there and I would have to risk cross contamination in order to order my bread or soy ice cream.

Rutgers University in New Brunswick has a system that I have never seen before. When I visited the manager at the dining hall, I informed him of all my food allergies (nuts, dairy and eggs), symptoms if I am exposed to these foods, treatment after exposure, and finally, my food preferences or what I normally eat at home. They created a file on me detailing this information, and gave me the phone numbers for dining halls located on each campus.

Rutgers has a unique system called Text-to-Order. This is how it works: I read the menu for the particular dinining hall that I will be having a meal. I look and find the foods I would like to eat that are listed on the menu, and I send a text to the chef or manager on my phone. The text includes my name, food allergies, the food I want to eat, and the time of pickup. When they receive this text, they access my file and know exactly how to prepare the food. They take precautions to avoid cross-contamination to prepare a safe meal. When I am ready to eat, I go to the dining hall and ask for a manager. I tell them my name and that I have a Text-to-Order meal. They get it from the kitchen and give it to me on a tray or they wrap it to go. It's such a fast and easy process!


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