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Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Phoenix Country Day School is committed to providing a safe, healthy educational environment for all students. This includes our commitment to the PCDS food services options, in partnership with SAGE Dining Services, Inc., our food service provider.  Our goal is to:

  • Provide a safe and healthy environment for students with food allergies
  • Reduce the likelihood of severe allergic reactions

There can be a great deal of confusion regarding food allergies, food sensitivities, and one of the most prominent food-related diseases, celiac disease.  The following paragraphs attempt to clarify each of these differences:

  • Food allergies involve the immune system.  There is no cure and the food must be completely avoided.  The top allergens in the United States are wheat, eggs, fish, milk, soy, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.
  • Food sensitivity (including gluten sensitivity) is different from a food allergy as it will not cause a life-threatening reaction, but it can make someone sick.
  • Celiac disease is a condition in which a person cannot properly digest gluten, which is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Consuming gluten causes digestive symptoms and can seriously damage the intestines. The only treatment for celiac disease is complete avoidance of gluten.

PCDS is proud that SAGE has prepared detailed materials regarding each of the major food allergies, links to which are in the sidebar. Sage’s registered dietitians have described each allergy and the physical symptoms of those experiencing an allergic reaction. They have outlined the types of foods that allergy sufferers should avoid and have provided a detailed listing of harmful “hidden ingredients” that often lurk in processed foods. We encourage students and parents to review these materials to help them make wise choices among foods offered in the dining program, as well as at home.

SAGE has developed a valuable online tool to help your student make safe food choices for various food issues they may be dealing with. To identify appropriate daily menu items offered in the dining hall, go to the online menu and click on the Allergens/Restrictions tab. Then choose the allergen(s) that you want to avoid and see how the menu adjusts.  All menu items to be avoided will be grayed out and only those appropriate choices will remain highlighted.  Click here for detailed information on the allergen filter tool.   If you want to know more about a dish, click directly on the menu item to get the full list of ingredients. You may contact Robyn Kunze, PCDS Director of Food Services for additional questions.