Are food allergies a disability? Should college food services have to provide alternatives?

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced recently that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to college students who have food allergies at Lesley University in Massachusetts.

About 2 percent of adults and 4 to 8 percent of kids in the United States suffer from food allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

From NPR:

“In the agreement with DOJ, Lesley is required provide gluten- and allergen-free food options in its dining halls, offer special meal plans for students with allergies, and pay $50,000 in damages to the students who filed the claim in 2009, among other measures.

“The Lesley settlement is terrific,” Marilyn Geller, chief operating officer of the Celiac Disease Foundation, tells The Salt. “It puts all universities on notice that they’re going to have to make these accommodations for students with celiac, gluten sensitivity and other food allergies.”…

“By applying the ADA to food allergies, the DOJ has essentially turned food into an access issue – akin to providing ramps for students in wheelchairs.”

“By not accommodating food allergies, you’re barring students from participating in the university,” says Maria Acebal, a lawyer and spokeswoman for Food Allergy Research & Education, an advocacy group. “If you can’t get safe food, how can you study there?”

First off I am surprised university dining halls weren’t already offering allergy-alternative foods. Now maybe that’s because my only experience with a college dining hall was at the University of Georgia, and it’s a really big school with lots of food options

I did find this on UGA Food Service website:

“Food Sensitivities

Students with food allergies or nutritionally significant medical conditions (diabetes, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, anemia, hypertension, hypoglycemia, etc) can receive nutrition advisement through private consultations with the Registered Dietitian. To make an appointment regarding specific nutrition concerns or food allergies, please contact Katherine Ingerson, RD, LD at 706-542-7313 or ingerson@uga.edu….”

“Food Fact Finders

The eight most common food allergens (milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts) are designated in the Food Fact Finders.  It is our goal to provide you with information and assistance to manage your food allergies.  Every effort is made to instruct our food production staff on the severity of food allergies; however, there is always a risk of contamination. There is also a possibility that manufacturers of the commercial foods we use could change the formulation at any time, without notice. Customers concerned with food allergies need to be aware of this risk. Students with food allergies are encouraged to contact the UGA Food Services Registered Dietitian (706-542-7313) for additional information and/or support.”

It does sound like they want to help the students and work with them but it also sounds like a disclaimer so you don’t sue them if something bad happens.

Elementary schools are so aware of food allergies and so sensitive to them that I guess I didn’t realize that sensitivity decreased as kids got older.

So what do you think: Are food allergies equivalent to a blind person or a person in a wheel chair? Should university dining halls have to offer allergy alternatives for students? Did you or you student ever have an issue with food allergies at a school or college level?

71 comments Add your comment

[...] Are food allergies a disability? Should college food services have to provide …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)12:50 am January 10, 2013, by Theresa Walsh Giarrusso. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced recently that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to college students who have food allergies at Lesley University in Massachusetts.Food Allergy Discrimination Fight – Justice Department Says Set my Gluten FreeHeritage.orgLesley University agrees to gluten-free food choicesBostonglobeJustice Department agreement ensures Lesley University meal plan …Boston.com [...]

FCM on my cell

January 10th, 2013
5:29 am

I have managed to have a food allergen (shellfish) all my life and get through college cafe. I think providing the info is necessary. However, the student should b responsible for the alternative not tje school. One more example of the pathetic you owe me mentality that got Obama elected.

It depends...

January 10th, 2013
6:50 am

If the college requires students to purchase a meal plan, then the college should be required to offer allergy alternative foods for students.

If students have the ability to opt out due to food allergies, then the college should not be required to offer alternatives. However, the school should be required to show (or verify if asked) if a food item may contain items in association with a food allergy.

cobbmom

January 10th, 2013
7:15 am

Food allergies have gotten out of hand. I know a teacher who has to leave the room to eat a peanut butter cracker because of a student with “peanut allergies”. Guess what the student with peanut allergies brings for snack each day, potato chips cooked in peanut oil.

bubba

January 10th, 2013
7:32 am

Peanut proteins – the allergens – are not found in refined peanut oils.

It’s sad that women would take the time to:
- spy on other children’s snacks (and read the contents of the bag)
- chat with the teachers about it
- the teachers would actually chat about it
- then post a rant on the internet about it

Sounds like a privacy violation issue to me.
Someone should let the student’s parents know about this stalking of the child.

Big Mama

January 10th, 2013
7:48 am

Food allergies are an inconvenience to those who do not suffer them. They are potentially deadly to those who do. Some understanding of the allergy and the consequences of exposure would be helpful before sharing an opinion.

Do the food services at educational institutions provide alternatives for other medical conditions?

jct

January 10th, 2013
7:57 am

I am with FCM on this one. I am allergic to blueberries and onions and got through college just fine with no accommodations. I could always find something in the cafe to eat. It is my responsibility to ask questions and speak up when I was unsure of the ingredients in a meal.

And we wonder why college is getting so expensive? How much will the cost of meal plans go up to pay for all the extra folks hired for these accommodations?

Voice of Reason

January 10th, 2013
8:07 am

Oh boy, another one of these. NO I do not think not having enough antibodies, or sometimes having too many, in your body qualifies you for disablilty status. It’s not like you can’t walk because you have no legs. You can’t eat something, because your body rejects it. Just make sure you know how to handle an attack if you have one and you will be fine.

If you have a problem that you are aware of, it is YOUR responsibility to learn to manage and cope to fit in to normal life. Life is not going to adapt to you. Some people simply do not understand this.

Mother of 2

January 10th, 2013
8:09 am

I agree with It Depends. If the school requires all students to pay for the meal plan, then the school should accommodate students with allergies, particularly if it is a state school. College is a choice, so students and their parents need to find a school that suits the particular student’s needs.

Chaos

January 10th, 2013
8:17 am

I blame antibacterial soaps for the increase in food allergies among humans. Your body was designed to fight infections and kill bacteria, when you don’t regularly put bacteria in your body for it to attack, it will attack something else, like certain types of food.

Your germ phobia is causing you to not be able to eat fish. Way to go hominids.

Busy Mom

January 10th, 2013
8:35 am

@cobbmom…foods cooked in peanut oil are safe for kids with peanut allergies. Chick-fil-A is also cooked in peanut oil and the allergen cooks out, similar to cooking with wine.

Michelle

January 10th, 2013
8:41 am

I agree with It Depends also. If a cafe does not provide a list of ingredients or alerts about food that have the most common allergens included, then the student should not be required to purchase a meal plan. That seems fair to the student and fair to the school.

If a student is required to buy a meal plan, then sorry FCM, then the college does “owe them” meals that are free of the food that they are allergic to. Not sure what that has to do with supporters of the President.

FCM

January 10th, 2013
8:53 am

@ Chaos, I really doubt that antibacterial soap is why I am allergic to shellfish. It was disagnosed before the onset of the soaps. It is an idone issue actually.

xxx

January 10th, 2013
8:59 am

If being allergic to food is now a disability, I expect it the be a requirement to be listed under the disabilites section of all official forms. i.e job applications, medial records, gov’t ofrms, etc. Don’t claim disability when it benefits you and hide it when it doesn’t.

malleesmom

January 10th, 2013
9:00 am

I agree with Voice of Reason. I also have a child with food sensitivities.

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
9:00 am

I have eaten in a lot of colleges nationwide and,so far, UGA has much better selection than most. I would think that most students would be fine with their options. I was also impressed with ETSU, years ago. My husband was with me for a meeting in Oregon and they raved about the food on their campus, where my meeting was held. While it was good, we did not think it compared to the variety we knew our son and now daughter would see. If you are at a small school, you could be at a disadvantage. I am not sure about a disability. We do not have food allergies in our family.

OFF TOPIC but food related…

I visited the grocery store yesterday and checked out after a mom with two small children. She had two carts crammed full of things and used her EBT card for payment( it popped up on the screen). I noticed that she had vouchers for cheese and milk and that got my attention. Not many people have that many groceries in one trip. The total was well over $300.00. Included, were several packages of crab legs and 12 packs of Cokes. I personally do not understand how those items are necessary, since others are paying for her to bring them home. Her small son had a cute little chocolate milk with a Spongebob on the top: $2.47. She showed it to the cashier, who rung it up after the initial purchase. I did not purchase these kinds of things for my kids, as they were too expensive. I remember looking for the chocolate milk with a special sticker on it ( 99 cents) if it was due to expire soon and that would be a treat.

Am I the only person who seems to think that there should be limits on what people can buy with EBT cards? I do not understand the system of giving folks money and letting them waste it too. Perhaps we need to teach them how to be thrifty shoppers. They may not care.

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
9:03 am

@FCM…your 8:53 post…that is exactly what I thought.

Chaos

January 10th, 2013
9:04 am

I’m allergic to bees, can I park in the handicapped spot now?

@FCM

I wasn’t targeting you specifically, I was just speaking in general.

bubba

January 10th, 2013
9:09 am

Regarding EBT, it depends on your political persuassion:
– If you believe that government/insurance should be paying for viagra, birth control, abortions, insurance payments for low income families, free school lunches, etc.etc.
you are probably not going to want to put too many limits on EBT purchases (you don’t want to hurt the self esteem of children who can’t afford SpongeBob dolls)

What did the shopper say to you as you were staring at her purchases?
What did the shopper behind you say as she critiqued your purchases?

Chuck Shick

January 10th, 2013
9:13 am

I used to tell people that I was “Allergic” to mushrooms. The fact is, I just think they are disgusting and I got tired of having to explain myself. It’s way easier to say “I’m allergic”.

Not sure where all these food sensitivities came from. They were not around when I was young (a long time ago, to be sure).

I blame the steroids and chemical engineering of our food by big agriculture. (Not really, I just like to stir the pudding sometimes).

homeschooler

January 10th, 2013
9:30 am

What next? People with food allergies get a disability check? My daughter has a serious tree nut allergy. Almost stopped breathing once. At 9 yrs old she reads labels and makes informed choices when she goes to a restaurant. Why not in college? I agree with “it depends” that there should be waivers from the meal plan for those who have allergies if there would not be enough foods in the cafeteria for them to eat but that is highly doubtful. Even in the early 90’s the colleges I observed had as many options as a mall food court. I’m just not understanding that issue here. If you have a gluten allergy you don’t choose the bread or pasta you choose rice or corn. If you have a nut allergy you bypass the cashew chicken or the cookies with nuts. It’s just that simple.

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
9:30 am

@bubba…I paid for my purchases with cash and that is the difference, to me. No one was behind me and no conversation was made with the person in front of me. I have been known to offer a coupon to someone near me, if they are purchasing an item I have a coupon for.

The gentleman who checked her out was watching me. I mentioned my frustration to him and he replied, “I have never accepted free food ( he was my age) and they are allowed to get whatever they want. Sad but there is nothing we can do about it at all.”

What got my attention was the quantity and not the items themselves but when I realized that tax dollars were paying for someone else to have crab legs and Coke, it irritated me.

Michelle

January 10th, 2013
9:42 am

@motherjanegoose – You don’t know that lady’s situation, so you shouldn’t judge her. You don’t know if she is receiving EBT temporarily because of a recent work or health situation or if she’s been on it for years. You don’t know if the reason why she had two buggies of food is because she can only get to the market once a month because she doesn’t have transportation and has to get everything in one trip so $300+ for a month would probably be reasonable. Could she have made better food choices? Yes, probably, but that applies to so many of us. I wouldn’t mind if there were limitiations to what can be purchased with financial assistance from the government. To me, It doesn’t seem very nice for you and the cashier to discuss someone else’s purchases after they leave and is probably against store policy for the cashier to do that.

yuki

January 10th, 2013
9:45 am

If you are in college and you can’t make choices that don’t affect your food allergies, then perhaps you should not be in college. Just my opinion. Everyone has something they have to deal with and allergies are no different. Fair skinned people have to be more careful in the sun, etc…I mean seriously.

MJG…I totally agree with your frustrations. That would annoy the heck out of me too. I don’t buy crab legs because they are expensive. Why should I pay for someone else’s? And whoever is implying that it’s not her business to check out what someone else is buying, it is when we go to work and our tax dollars are paying for it. I absolutely agree there should be a limit to what you can buy with EBT cards. Fruits, veggies, milk, ground beef, things like this. When I go to check out, my $200 grocery bill is paid BY ME for MY family. I’m so tired of people taking advantage. And it’s only getting worse.

Techmom

January 10th, 2013
9:47 am

I’m with @It Depends, if the school has a required meal plan, then they should make accommodations and labeling food is helpful (do they also list calories, fat & sodium content though? THOSE should be required as just about everyone is capable of gaining weight or getting high blood pressure!) I also like UGA’s suggestion to meet with the dietitian. But I don’t think food allergies should be considered a disability.

I have all kinds of allergies but never had food allergy testing until last year. Come to find out, I’m allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, corn and a slew of other things. Which is rather interesting since I eat peanuts and peanut butter all the time! The thing that people need to remember about allergy testing is that it doesn’t tell you what KIND of allergy you have. You could simply have a digestive allergy and get gas or maybe itchy skin. That is NOT a disability. And while I do realize there is a very, very small population who has severe allergies to peanuts, the reality is that most kids are not going to die from someone else eating a peanut butter sandwich in the same vicinity. But we live in such a litigious society that my son’s school has pretty much prohibited everything with peanuts for a few kids who tested positive to a skin test.

homeschooler

January 10th, 2013
9:55 am

@MJG. “Perhaps we need to teach them how to be thrifty shoppers. They may not care.”
Very few people care when it’s someone else’s money. My sister was on foodstamps when she was recently divorced and had returned to school. My nephew was only 2 so 300.00 per month was more than enough to feed them (this was in 1990). To this day she talks about how well she ate on food stamps. Lobster and steak and all the things she could never afford before or since.
The thing is, depending on the situation, sometimes it is A LOT of money. It’s illegal to share foodmstamps or give them away. I don’t know if you can give them back but, I’m sure no one ever has. So, I’m not sure what one is supposed to do other than buy what they want. The lady in front of you likely gets 300-500 dollars a month. If her kids were small that may be enough to buy crab legs and still get through the month. Sounds like she also has WIC (vouchers for milk, cheese etc..) so if these things are covered there is more food stamp money to be spent on other items. Not saying it’s right or wrong but the problem is someone, somewhere has decided that everyone needs 150 dollars per person per month to eat so that’s what they get. Things should be taken into consideration. Like the age of the family members (a 2 yr old eats less than a 17 yr old), do they have WIC, do they have school age children who get free breakfast and lunch? All these things can make a huge difference in the grocery bill. Sorry, I guess we got way off topic. :-)

KT

January 10th, 2013
10:27 am

Celiac disease (the condition that prompted the lawsuit) isn’t a food allergy. It’s an autoimmune disease, and is more similar to diabetes, MS, etc. than it is to a shellfish or peanut allergy. The problem is not the ingredients in the food so much as the preparation of the food. It’s very, very easy to contaminate food with gluten if it’s made in the same kitchen as regular food, and even a tiny crumb can make a person with celiac disease sick for several days or weeks – nausea, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, etc. It’s not an allergic reaction that goes away after you take your medicine. If someone with celiac isn’t able to completely avoid gluten, than it can lead to malnutrition, severe weight loss, vitamin deficiencies, other autoimmune diseases, and, eventually, cancer and death. I’ve got celiac, but luckily I’m not a college student so I’m able to control where I eat. I agree with those who say that if the college requires the student live on campus and purchase a meal plan, then they need to make an appropriate accommodation. If they don’t have such a requirement, then the student should suck it up, get an off-campus apartment, and make his/her own food.

Mayhem

January 10th, 2013
10:30 am

MJG you don’t know that woman’s situation and you were judging her. You basically looked down your nose at her, because of her EBT. Had she paid with cash would you have been so judgmental???? You shouldn’t do that. You stuck your nose where it didn’t belong and made an assumption as to her situation.

Never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Judge not lest you be judged.

Atlanta Mom

January 10th, 2013
10:41 am

Wow,
You people have to avoid a food like blueberries or shellfish and because you did it everyone with allergies should just have to suck it up?
Next time you go shopping try to avoid soybeans products. Good luck.
UGA does do a good job a daily basis labeling food. But on one of their “special” meal nights, buyer beware. They can’t even properly label if food has meat in it. So, that might make it inconvenience for a vegetarian, but improperly labeled foods for other people could cause death. But that’s okay, those folks just need to “deal with it”

DB

January 10th, 2013
10:50 am

Well, if entire buildings have to be built to accommodate the very few who need to use wheelchairs, then why shouldn’t cafeterias where students are required to eat be required to accommodate life-and-death allergies? In the elementary schools, I can see why the cafeteria is so strict on food choices — the kids are young, and many haven’t learned to make proper choices or to ask the right questions. A college student SHOULD be able to make those choices for themselves — but they can only make those choices wisely if they are provided with proper information. My daughter has realized that, for her, gluten-free eating basically eliminates her eczema, and is ruthless about making gluten-free choices. But she has also recognized that the world doesn’t work gluten-free, and she is getting canny about always carrying food that she can fall back on if faced with a gluten-rich environment.

And, yes the UGA disclaimer is definitely a “CYA” bit of writing. But a necessary one — cross-contamination, for the extremely sensitive, is a problem, and with students working the counters, etc., it’s almost impossible to ensure that it won’t happen. Eating restrictions are inconvenient at best but life-threatening at worst. Why would a school basically sit a student down in front of a life-threatening meal and then say, “Eat or starve”? A disability, as defined by the ADA, is ““physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.” Is it a stretch that not being able to eat safely is a major life activity? In a university environment, telling one student that they can “opt-out” of the food service contract puts them in a outcast position of not being able to eat with their friends who are heading over to the cafeteria for lunch or dinner, or not being able to dash into a food bar between badly-timed classes, etc. At UGA there are many, many choices, so it’s not a big issue — but at smaller schools, probably not so much. Lesley University only has about 1,500 students – smaller than some Atlanta high schools! — so yes, I bet their offerings were on the scanty side. The other side of the coin is “why would a student who had those kinds of allergies choose to go to a school where they couldn’t eat?”, which brings up issues on equal access, etc. Not segmenting a group for exclusion is at the heart of the ADA. At $50,000, Lesley University got off cheap, especially since the results of the lawsuit are simply to throw up some warning signs and offer some more dishes for the allergic crowd.

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
10:59 am

I am fine with anyone who buys a lot of groceries, with their own money. NONE of my business. When I am waiting in line, I always look around at people and thus this purchase caught my eye. I admire those who use coupons to make a large purchase and are able to save a lot of $$$ doing so. It takes time and effort to make ends meet. Those who buy crab legs, on an EBT card, are not likely to understand the value of a dollar. I do not know the woman. She probably did have a month’s worth of groceries.

My point is the same as homeschooler’s:

Very few people care when it’s someone else’s money.

Michelle, let’s say you were making car payments on a car you could afford. Then our gov’t decided that everyone needed a car so that they could get to a job and work. You have a Chevy but your neighbor got a Cadillac. Would you be fine with it? Some people ARE driving Cadillacs because they are given an EBT card to pay for their groceries. What they would use for groceries is now available for a car payment. I am paying for my car ( a Chevy) and my food too …plus tax $$$ for food for other families. IT IS NOT VERY NICE TO REQUIRE PEOPLE TO PAY TAXES AND GIVE THAT MONEY TO THOSE WHO HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO USE IT FRUGALLY, when the taxpayers are using coupons and eating chicken. I once saw a lady buy a roast and she mentioned that she was giving it to her dog, as dog food was not covered on an EBT card.

Some people are simply better off because they are more intelligent about their choices. I spoke with an older man yesterday, who is very well off. He was telling me about the days he worked two jobs and his wife worked too, they did not make much money but were determined to get ahead. Three jobs between the two of them. Some today, would look at him and envy what he has. Guess what: HE WORKED FOR IT!

Mooch

January 10th, 2013
11:01 am

I basically consider folks with food stamps thieves. And yes I do look down on those that act as though they are owed free food. Those that are truly embarrassed they have failed at one of life’s most basic requirments, I pity.

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
11:06 am

@mayhem….quoting scripture are you? You may find this interesting:

http://www.cfirecm.com/QandA/Judge%20Not%20Lest%20Ye%20Be%20Judged.htm

Jeff

January 10th, 2013
11:08 am

I’m allergic to people who act like morons and get on my nerves. Can we restructure society around that next please?

Mayhem

January 10th, 2013
11:14 am

No MJG I wasn’t quoting scripture, as I have no idea what it is….LOL.

3schoolkids

January 10th, 2013
11:16 am

Quick perusal of Lesley University website shows meal plans at $2,650 per semester, but I couldn’t find if it is required for on campus students. If I had to pay this amount and couldn’t eat much of what was offered I would be pretty upset (but I would have researched this and known it before considering to go there and would not have even applied). I will say my experience with private college food services is that food selections can be very limited (choice of one of two entrees with dinner) and if you are allergic to something in each entree then you can’t eat. Also, cost saving measures often mean you are offered the same dishes several times per week. While we may not think of food allergies as a disability think of someone who has celiac disease and cannot eat ANY gluten. Or someone with Crohn’s or Colitis who may be seriously impacted by what they eat. If they can be classified as disabilities then why can’t any true food allergy? Anaphylactic reactions are a medical illness that can cause instant death or serious long term health consequences, would we be more sympathetic to someone who has to control sugar due to diabetes, or fat due to heart disease?

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
11:25 am

My point exactly Mayhem, as that is actually a Bible Verse. Often folks choose the ones they agree with and ignore the rest.

Every single voter made a judgment when they went to the polls and voted. We formed an opinion on who would be the best candidate and cast our vote accordingly. Maybe this is why some do not vote?

Here is part of the link I shared:

According to the Webster’s Dictionary, to judge means “to discern, to distinguish, to form an opinion, to compare facts or ideas, and perceive their agreement or disagreement, and thus to distinguish truth from falsehood.” Therefore, when you say that your neighbor is a “good person,” you are passing a judgment (forming an opinion) just as much as when you say that the thief is a “bad person.”

I , for one, have said lots of good things about people too. Thus I am guilty of passing judgment.

Michelle

January 10th, 2013
11:35 am

@MJG I completely understand that there is wide abuse in food stamps and that they are used to purchase things that are outside of the intent of the original purpose. Additionally, I think there should be time limits to government assistance and it should be reviewed on a periodic basis so that assistance is a just that “assistance”, not a lifestyle. I wouldn’t mind if food stamps were regulated.

My point to you is that you seem to have a poor opinion of ANYONE who accepts government assistance. You should understand that there are people out there who begrudgingly use this assistance as a last resort to get them out of a hole and move them to the place where they are contributing citizens again. Years ago, my father, two brothers and I were in an car accident (another driver’s fault) that left us hospitalized and out of work for months. Our savings and my parents’ retirement were depleted. Only by the grace of God did we not have to apply for assistance until my dad was able to go back to work (months later). Family and friends really helped us when we couldn’t help ourselves. As I read your post, I just thought that the lady you were annoyed with could have been my mother who was buying groceries for the month because we didn’t have a car (it was totalled beyond recongition) and had to depend on someone for a way to the grocery store, purchasing her vice (Coca-Cola) and splurging on a nice dinner, you would assume she was a leech on society. That’s all I am saying. You may want to rethink your opinion when you make a blanket statement about people. Some of these people just may have been paying taxes for years but because of a really bad situation, uses government assistance.

Get Educated

January 10th, 2013
11:40 am

KT and DB have the right of it. So many people misuse the word “allergy” that most people assume that food allergies are no big deal. I’ve just been diagnosed with celiac after years of illness. Even a tiny crumb of gluten makes me very ill and damages my intestines. I’ve had to get rid of my old toaster, cutting boards – anything that I can’t completely clean gluten out of, along with medications that have wheat-based fillers. It’s much more complicated than just avoiding bread – you can’t have soy sauce, dextrose, malt, malt extracts, etc. If you were in a school that you had paid thousands of dollars to for the meal plan, then they ought to be sure there is something nutritious you can eat that won’t make you ill. It isn’t like a restaurant where you can get up and leave and go to a different one that will meet your needs.

motherjanegoose

January 10th, 2013
12:20 pm

I am absolutely willing to help other people and I do it often. I am FINE with helping people who need it. Long term or temporary. Just not sure that help should include Coke and crablegs. Splurging ( to me) is something you do with your own money and time. I am “splurging” today, as I am working in my pajamas. I work for myself and can sit at the computer and do so. Accountability seems to have gone by the wayside. I thought we were providing sustenance for people…not treats. Maybe I am the only one.

My own daughter was at the mall with me ( a rare visit) a few weeks ago. We passed some stores with kid’s clothing. They were designer types. She mentioned, ” Mom you never let me buy things in there when I was small.” That is true. We did not have the money to splurge on those things. I see lots of people today who simply purchase what they want with no consideration as to whether they can afford it. Kids grow up in these families and that is often where the trouble begins. Basic economics is a long lost skill. My two saw plenty of college peers who had a hay day their freshman year and then were cut off and miserable their sophomore year. Budgets are not often discussed before college and there are tears later.

Voice of Reason

January 10th, 2013
12:22 pm

@Jeff

You can’t fix stupid, but you can hit it with a hammer a few times to relieve stress.

non committal mind reader

January 10th, 2013
12:27 pm

Oh, the ignorance in this blog abounds!

Guess what the student with peanut allergies brings for snack each day, potato chips cooked in peanut oil.

peanut oil contains no proteins. Cooking in peanut oil is safe for those with peanut allergies.

I have managed to have a food allergen (shellfish) all my life and get through college cafe.
So what? A shellfish allergy is EASY to deal with. Try living with a peanut or red dye allergy, and then get back to me. I know because my daughter has all three. You don’t have to worry much about finding a shrimp in your plain ice cream at DQ. My daughter ingested a peanut in her plain ice cream, and found herself in the ER.

If you were in a school that you had paid thousands of dollars to for the meal plan, then they ought to be sure there is something nutritious you can eat that won’t make you ill. It isn’t like a restaurant where you can get up and leave and go to a different one that will meet your needs.

Bingo. They provide special meals for vegans, kosher, diabetics, etc. Why not food allergies?

Are food allergies a disability? No, not usually. Those with food allergies are not generally incapable of work, or prevented from doing work due to th allergy. Should college food services have to provide alternatives? Yes. And they should also have strict ingredient control, as well as itemized lists of everything contained in every item on the menu.

Phil's lover

January 10th, 2013
12:42 pm

I blame over indulgent parents and Dr. Spock.

Children need spankings.

And peanuts.

Lots of peanuts.

Techmom

January 10th, 2013
1:01 pm

I do have a question about the EBT card. Is the EBT card ONLY for food stamps (SNAP benefits)?

I have a friend whose ex was court ordered to pay child support and she received it on a card because apparently the state stopped mailing checks years ago (Yah! for efficiency). I looked it up and apparently you can either use a card or get it direct deposited to a checking account but what I’m wondering is if it’s all one card or if there are separate cards for child support and SNAP benefits? Surely they’re separate accounts/cards, right?

Mayhem

January 10th, 2013
1:26 pm

Techmom – Child support in this case is paid through the court. For your serious deadbeat parents, sometimes the court requires they pay through them. Then they can monitor when payments are missed, and go after said deadbeat.

Food Stamps EBT SNAP is paid through the welfare office, not the courts.

2 different offices. So no, not the same card.

La - a

January 10th, 2013
1:30 pm

I needs me another baby-daddy so’s my food stamps goz up higher sos Iz canz gets me som mor scrimps.

jmb

January 10th, 2013
1:35 pm

Mayhem, are you sure about that? My daughter has a friend that recieves $200 a month on her EBT card for food stamps and $200 a month for TANF or something like that as child support from the state while they attempt to get the $$ out of the father and my daughter said it all goes on the same card.

Young Lady

January 10th, 2013
1:36 pm

Also Mayhem you’re not exactly right on the payments, the Court only mandates payment but Child Support Enforcement (DCCS) is a branch of DHR and they issue the payments out of their funding. It’s just a clarification for general information purposes. They are not part of the same branch. They’re actually closer to DFCS and work with them a lot.

Young Lady

January 10th, 2013
1:57 pm

-Edit myself: I meant to say they collect and disperse the payments. I don’t know where this ‘issue it out of their funding came from’ maybe it’s all the SNAP talk since that’s what’s going on. Maybe I just have brain fog. I hear it’s terminal.

jmb- It definately doesn’t go on the same card. DCSS has it’s own card called an EPPI. Not sure why it’s seperate honestly but your daughter’s friend may want to clarify that with her caseworker. A phone call would easily clear that confusion up.

Techmom

January 10th, 2013
2:09 pm

I was just wondering if EBT/SNAP payments were separated from child support payments or if for example, the woman who MJG encountered at the grocery store could have been using child support to pay for her groceries rather than SNAP.