Gillian Kelly, a Nutrition Associate Manager on Aramark’s catering team at James Madison University (JMU), has been announced by MenuTrinfo® as one of 10 recipients of its annual National Allergy Awards, with Aramark colleague Brandon Mathias as well as their employer also receiving awards.
The awards, now in their sixth year, recognize entities which operate at the forefront of food allergy training, with a focus on consumer safety and inclusivity.
A panel of distinguished food allergy experts and trainers led by American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited online allergy training courses provider AllerTrain™ by MenuTrinfo selected this year’s winners from a nomination pool submitted through a website. AllerTrain works with multiple universities and foodservice providers across the United States.
Kelly received an award in the Best Food Allergy Training for Universities category, with Mathias being chosen for a Best Food Allergy Champion for Universities award, and Aramark’s Allergen Safety Program – a commitment to follow a disciplined, multi-tier approach to food safety for customers with allergies that includes training staff, and an internal auditing process at some 90 universities, being recognized as the winner of the Best Overall Food Allergy Program for Universities category.
“Betsy Craig, MenuTrinfo CEO, comments: “We were flooded with more nominees than ever before, so the competition was much stiffer than year’s past.
“More people care about food allergies and there are more [food allergy] rockstars in the industry than ever before,” Craig said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to recognize these food safety professionals for the sixth year in a row – they care and do so much for others.
“Our winners created innovative change in the industry and helped deploy new programs and saw great success doing that, and we are proud to recognize all the 2022 winners.”
Lara Malatesta, Vice-President of Food Safety and Management Systems at Aramark, adds: “We focus on every step of the supply process to ensure guests with food allergies can dine safely.
“With the right training and resources, our dining location staff members are becoming food allergy advocates.”
Researchers estimate some 32 million Americans to have food allergies, including 5.6 million children aged under 18 (or approximately one in every 13 children). Yet young adults like those on college campuses often face an even higher risk of experiencing adverse reactions to food allergies, including anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening.
Malatesta explains, “Young adults with food allergies often exhibit behavior that can put them at a higher risk for serious reactions. Often, they don’t strictly avoid the foods they are allergic to, and they are less likely to carry epinephrine pens.”
Full List of 2022 National Allergy Awards Winners
Best Overall Food Allergy Program for Universities: Aramark
Best Food Allergy Champion for Universities: Brandon Mathias, Aramark
Best Food Allergy Training for Restaurants: South Point Casino / Chef Keith
Best Food Allergy Training for Universities: James Madison University (JMU) / Gillian Kelly, Aramark
Best Food Allergy Innovation for Restaurants: Jules on the Green (VT)
Best Food Allergy Innovation for Universities: North Dakota State University (NDSU) (Recipes)
Best Allergy-Free Bakery: Kickshaws Gluten-Free Bakery
Best Allergy-Free Cereal: Red Plate Foods (Granola)
Best Allergy-Free Blogger: Allergy Force Blog
Best Allergy-Free Snack Foods: Divvie’s Bakery
MenuTrinfo will again be recognizing industry leaders at the forefront of food allergy safety in 2023, with nominations for next years awards opening in the Spring. All nominations will be accepted via the company’s website, with winners to be announced in May 2023.