Vanderbilt University has created a reputation for having an extremely robust and influential allergy-friendly Campus Dining program. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt has taken progressive steps in accommodating students with food allergies and intolerances and assisting their navigation of the dining halls, while also providing an abundance of safe and allergen friendly options. Vanderbilt has taken large and impactful strides in the last year to create the allergy program it has today. In 2018 Vanderbilt Campus Dining opened their first completely allergen-friendly concept (certified “Top 8 Free” by Kitchens with Confidence). They also created a special Online Special Diet Accommodation Ordering Program and required allergy training for all Campus Dining staff.

Vanderbilt students with food allergies or special dietary restrictions are heavily supported by Campus Dining Registered Dietitian Meredith Williams and the Student Access Services Office throughout their time at the University. One such student is, a Nima College Ambassador and Student Allergy Council President, Valerie Kraft. In 2017, Williams and Kraft created Vanderbilt’s Allergy Council to serve as a community for students with allergies and intolerances and to build an evolving relationship with Campus Dining. The relationship developed between these students and Vanderbilt Dining has pioneered a unique and imperative program that is leading the way in University and College dining programs regarding allergy accommodations and safety protocols and Nima is playing an important role!

How has Vanderbilt incorporated Nima into the allergy protocol and processes?

Vanderbilt uses Nima in several ways.

  1. Batch test raw ingredients in gluten-free and peanut-free dishes across campus. Each of the 4 dining halls on Vanderbilt’s campus has a peanut and gluten Nima Sensor on site.
  2. Execute a robust auditing program implemented for dishes produced in their facilities and labeled gluten-free or peanut-free to ensure standard operating procedures and quality controls are being adhered to by the staff. On average, there are 2 meals per location, per meal period that are tested.
  3. Test individual meals ordered in advance by students who participate in their Special Diet Accommodation Program. These students have been registered with Student Access Services and have been granted special access to order meals online for pick up each day. Currently, there are approximately 30 students participating in this ordering system and typically used by 6-10 students daily across the 4 dining halls. These students can request that their food be tested in front of them upon arrive as well.

Nima is thrilled to be part of this cutting edge program. We hope this model will be adopted by other Universities looking to grow their own allergy friendly dining programs.

For more information on how Nima can be incorporated into your university’s dining services, please contact Nima’s Director of Partnerships, Stacy Boise at