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US Department of Justice Posts Q&A About ADA and Gluten-Free Meals


A December 2012 settlement agreement between Lesley University and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) deemed the school had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not providing gluten-free and allergen-free food options on campus.  Since then, questions have been swirling regarding the implications of the agreement for other institutions.  A new Q&A from the DOJ addresses these questions.

The Q&A describes celiac disease and the importance of the gluten-free diet.  Importantly, the document notes that the ADA does not require every public place that serves food to cater to special dietary needs.  Since Lesley University required all students living on campus to enroll in the meal plan, ADA requirements mandated the university make reasonable modifications for students with celiac disease and food allergies.

For more explanations of the settlement, including additional information about how this applies to restaurants and other foodservice providers, visit the US Department of Justice website.  Those with specific questions can call the Department’s ADA Technical Assistance Program to speak to an ADA Specialist at 1-800-514-03010 or visit www.ada.gov.

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