AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - More than 3 million people in America are affected by Celiac disease. Auburn University is doing their part to accommodate this growing portion of the population by opening the first gluten free food retail location on a college campus.
Plains 2 Plate has been open on Auburn's campus for more than three years now, but recently they went through the very difficult process of becoming gluten-free food service certified.
"So the process is pretty extensive, we had to go in and have the place completely cleaned and then we had to have it lab tested to make sure that there was no residual gluten," said Glenn Loughridge, Auburn's Director of Campus Dining. "And then there is a lot of process around how you can bring products in. It is quite a process to get it completely certified so that you don't have any possibility of cross contamination."
Not only is Plains 2 Plate providing students with a healthy gluten free option, the ingredients also come from right here in Alabama.
"So all of the products that we have are either sourced locally or regionally," said Plain 2 Plate's Marketing Director Sam Holt.
Nearly one in every five Americans is now following a gluten free diet. Not everyone eating gluten free has Celiac disease, some simply view the diet as a healthier option.
People who have Celiac disease can not eat any food that has wheat, rye, barely or oats. Some people are so sensitive to these ingredients that if their food is made in the same kitchen as the allergens they can get sick.
That is why it was so important for Plains 2 Plate to become the first fully gluten free food service certified retailer on a college campus.
"Our desire from the beginning was to provide, students who have gluten intolerance or just avoiding gluten a place where they can feel safe and can go and eat and have a meal and not worry about if there is cross contamination or anything else like that," said Loughridge.
Plains 2 Plates' gluten certification came about because of a request made by students to the administration.
We're told that if there are other dietary restaurants that students would like to see on campus, Auburn would work to make those happen as well.