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Food Allergy Sufferers Could Qualify As Disabled

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Photo: Lesley University students/Facebook

A settlement requiring a Massachusetts university to serve gluten-free food could have larger implications for future lawsuits against restaurants, says the Associated Press. The settlement with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, made last month, "says that food allergies may constitute a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act, if they are severe enough."

As a result of the decision, Lesley had to pay students who had been affected by the dining program $50,000 and now has to provide gluten-free options in its dining hall, along with gluten-free storage and kitchen space and food allergy training for the staff. The precedent set by the settlement, which was in response to a complaint filed in 2009, could make "restaurants and anyplace else that serves food more vulnerable to legal challenges over food sensitivities." The Allergy Pride cause now stretches far beyond Portlandia.

· Food Service Vulnerable to Food Allergy Lawsuits [AP via USA Today]