Skip to main content

Cornell lands atop Spokin's 2023 list of Food Allergy-Friendly Colleges

For years, Cornell Dining has led the way in labeling for major food allergens, training our staff in safe food handling, and offering allergy-friendly options all over campus, and we're proud to say Cornell University has been named #1 on Spokin's listing of Top 100 Food Allergy-Friendly Colleges for 2023.

"While we look forward to a day when every college is equally accommodating of food allergies, until then, there’s Spokin’s guide of the 100 Top Rated Allergy-Friendly Colleges," Spokin said in its announcement. "Out of the hundreds of colleges reviewed on the Spokin app, these schools are the top of the class with dedicated allergen-free dining halls and stations, allergen menus, knowledgeable staff, and willingness to make accommodations."

The Spokin app for iPhone aims to make food allergen and sensitivity management easier for everyone "by connecting the community to safe foods, restaurants, bakeries, travel, recipes, and each other."

“My daughter graduated from Cornell last year. She easily navigated the dining halls with peanut, tree nut, sesame, fish, and shellfish allergies," says Spokin app user Sheryl. "Most of the dining hall food items were labeled.”

Cornell Dining is proud to feature a variety of options and solutions for our students with food allergies, providing an experience that's individually tailored by our team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to meet the specific needs of each student. We work closely with our students with food allergies to continuously improve our program. For example, we recently updated our labeling program to label coconut separately from tree nuts to provide more clarity for our guests.

"After being diagnosed with celiac disease at the start of my senior year and having to navigate food restrictions for the first time," says recent graduate Mari Kramer, "Cornell Dining and Risley Dining in particular allowed me to have a sense of normalcy that I would have otherwise really struggled to maintain while living and eating on a college campus, without sacrificing high quality, delicious food."

As a Cornell graduate herself, Cornell Dining Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Michelle Nardi is passionate about creating an inclusive program that allows our students with food allergies to experience the vibrant program Cornell Dining is known for, within each student's comfort level. "I love being part of a team that is committed to providing safe, nourishing options to our students with food allergies," Michelle says, "and most importantly creating an environment that makes our guests feel welcome and safe."

"I'm so proud of the hard work that Michelle Nardi and her Cornell Dining Nutrition team put in year-round to help our students and other guests with food restrictions, as well as Chef Gregg Rogers and his crew at Risley Dining, our dining room that offers gluten-free, peanut-free, and tree-nut-free dining," says Cornell Dining director Paul Muscente. Risley's kitchen also prepares gluten-free, peanut-free, and tree-nut-free grab-and-go items that are available at cafés around campus. "It takes our entire team to ensure that the great work of our Nutrition experts is solidified, trusted, and consistent in our units. Building this trust is important, so we are glad to hear we're on the right track, along with the gratitude we hear from our students and their parents."

Runners-up in Spokin's listing include Vanderbilt University, which has entirely nut-free dining halls, and Northwestern University, which offers a dining facility free of the top-eight allergens and dedicated to people with food allergies. 

If you have a food allergy or intolerance, it is important to learn about all the options available to you. Please work with Cornell Dining's registered dietitian nutritionists to review your options.

About Cornell Dining

Cornell Dining is consistently ranked in the Princeton Review's top ten for best campus food among all colleges and universities in the country! That high rating comes from customer surveys, and reflects Cornell Dining's commitment to serving high-quality foods that are healthy and creatively prepared with genuine care for a diverse community. Cornell Dining operates about 30 on-campus eateries -- which include residential dining rooms, cafés, coffeehouses, food courts, and convenience stores -- and serves more than 23,000 meals a day to members of the Cornell community. For more information, visit