As a national leader in treating kids with eosinophilic disorders and severe food allergies, Cincinnati Children’s often becomes a home away from home for families seeking our highly specialized care.
Now our guests with allergies can count on finding something they too can enjoy at our hospital cafeteria.
Starting today, patients, families and employees who visit the main cafeteria at our Burnet Campus can shop from a selection of products designed to be free from eight leading causes of food allergy: wheat, milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.
These individually packaged specialty products — made by Enjoy Life® Foods and Ian’s Natural Foods© — include chicken nugget meals, French toast breakfasts, trail mix, cookies and more. It’s all part of a six-month pilot program being launched in conjunction with National Eosinophilic Awareness Week, one of many patient populations affected by food allergies.
Many of us take our food choices for granted. However, food allergies limit choices for as many as 15 million people in the US, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“We get hundreds of families every year coming in with eosinophilic disorders and significant food allergies. For them, going to the cafeteria can be overwhelming. In fact, some families have to pack their own food,” says Sean Jameson, program manager for the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders. “For a hospital that’s a leader in treating these conditions, it simply makes sense to offer a program like this.”
To launch the program, the medical center’s Food Service worked closely over several months with the Cincinnati Eosinophilic Family Coalition, whose members had asked the hospital to begin offering allergen-free foods.
The group ultimately selected two leading producers of allergy safe foods to offer a selection of items to cover any time of day, from breakfast to late-night snack.
“The families really deserve the credit. They drove this change,” Jameson says. “They’ll even have a chocolate bar that is dairy-, nut-, soy- and gluten-free. It’s pretty good.”
Tim Bonfield is an associate in Marketing & Communications at Cincinnati Children’s, where he writes for several medical center publications. He joined Cincinnati Children’s in 2009 after 17 years at the Cincinnati Enquirer as an award-winning health beat writer, assistant local news editor and Butler-Warren bureau chief. Tim is a proud Cincinnati native and the frazzled father of two teen daughters.