Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College in Pennsylvania both offer gluten-free rooms for students to dine in.
Gluten is a protein that is found in products made of wheat, rye, and barley.
The gluten-free area was cordoned off from the main dining room of Haverford College in August 2014.
Bernie Chung-Templeton, who heads dining services at both schools, told the English House Gazette that students had to be approved by the college's nutritionist as having celiac disease (digestive disease) or similar gluten condition to gain access to the room.
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Bryn Mawr College, which has a close relationship to Haverford College, tried its gluten-free dining room during the 2013-2014 school year.
Chung-Templeton is planning to take it a step further: “When we renovate, it would be something I would consider, splitting the kitchen in some way. Because we do have two sides, and we don’t even run two sides all the time. We could make one side the allergy free…”
ScienceDaily reported in 2012 that a Mayo Clinic study found that there are about 1.8 million Americans who have celiac disease, while 1.6 million were on a gluten-free diet even though they had not been diagnosed with the disease.
The New Yorker noted in 2014 that almost 20 million Americans claim they suffer in some way when eating gluten products, while about a third (100 million) are trying to go gluten-free, even though they don't need to. This type of condition is called "non-celiac gluten sensitivity," notes the magazine.
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Mintel, a marketing company, claims that gluten-free products are expected to rack up more than $15 billion in sales by 2016, noted The New York Times.