How Allergy Warnings are Actually Hurting Immune Health On Campus: The Coddling of the American Digestive System

Note: if you haven't seen this article yet, you might want to: "How Trigger Warnings Are Actually Hurting Mental Health On Campus"


Something strange is happening at America's colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub dining halls clear of any foods and beverages which might cause physical discomfort or illness (or at least accurately label them, which is basically the same thing).

The whole "allergy warning" thing started off as a well-intentioned way to help people with legitimate medical conditions like peanut allergies. I believe that those are a real thing because once in middle school, I saw a kid go into shock after eating brownies with peanuts. Also, no one likes the brownies with nuts.

But these days, oversensitive label activists have taken it way too far and started putting allergy warnings on every little thing like eggs, and dairy, and wheat. I mean come on. Who could be allergic to bread? Everyone likes bread!

Even culinary classics are not exempt from this form of overprotective nitpicking censorship: now spaghetti sauce is labeled as "may contain tree nuts" and french fries "contain trace amounts of soy."

But what about the detrimental effects that these labels can have on today's weak-stomached youth. I read in a Wikipedia article that immune tolerance is developed by repeated exposure to unfamiliar substances, so avoiding any substance must be a bad thing. (When some kid told me that his doctor was more qualified than me to help him monitor his level of lactose intake on an individual basis, I suggested that he get himself a good FroYo to get out of that whiny mood.)

The omnipresence of allergy warnings gives students the constant expectation of food danger, which can only intensify the effects of their already overreactive immune systems. I say if you're gonna have a negative reaction to something, it's better if it's a surprise.

"Actually, I just need to know when I should get a soy milk replacement or take Lactaid," protested the anti-milk kid. "Warning labels allow me to eat more things."

Come on, kid. Can't you just take a snack?

Millennials these days feel entitled to protection from any form of discomfort, be it cramps, hives, restricted breathing, or a slow erosion of the intestinal lining. But how will that serve them when they're out in the real world of food trucks and hot dog stands with inevitably low nutritional and sanitation standards? Since perfect safety is impossible, the only way to prepare for adulthood is to bite fearlessly into whatever comes your way.

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