Little-Noticed Settlement Could Benefit Those With Food Allergies

WASHINGTON (January 18, 2013)--People with severe food allergies have a new tool in the effort to find menus that fit their diet, the federal disabilities law, and that could leave schools, restaurants and anyone else that serves food more vulnerable to legal challenges over food sensitivities.

A settlement in a suit stemming from a lack of gluten-free foods for students at a Massachusetts university could serve as a precedent for people with other allergies or conditions, including peanut sensitivities or diabetes.

Institutions and businesses subject to the Americans With Disabilities Act could be open to lawsuits if they fail to honor requests for accommodations by people with food allergies.

The settlement, which was reached last month, but which drew little attention, will require Lesley University to serve gluten-free foods and make other accommodations for students who have celiac disease.


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