Change in ingredients leaves allergic students unable to eat pizza in Westport Public Schools


Photo by Claire Redmer ’21

Westport public schools are temporarily changing the crust of their pizza, due to a shortage in the original. The new crust contains the additional allergens of eggs and sesame.

Claire Redmer ’21, Social Media Director

Chartwells, the food service provider for Staples, temporarily replaced the current pizza crust with another option containing the additional allergens of eggs and sesame, as the original is unavailable due to high demand. The temporary change was implemented on Oct. 31. 

In an email from Principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr, students and parents were notified of the switch.

Due to unforeseen product demand, we will need to supplement our usual crust with a different brand,” the email said. 

The change will leave those with egg and sesame allergies unable to eat the pizza at school. 

One student expressed confusion about the school’s willingness to serve pizza that some students can not eat. 

I think [the cafeteria] should put out labels next to the pizza that grab attention so people with allergies don’t eat the food,”

— William Twombly ’21

“I was surprised that the cafeteria wasn’t able to accommodate all of their students,” Christina Meehan ’23 said. “There was nothing they did to really solve the problem.” 

The change is district-wide, impacting all schools. In addition to Staples, Bedford Middle School, who has pizza available daily, made the change starting Oct. 31. Elementary schools, who only serve pizza for lunch on Thursdays, will transition on Nov. 7.  

William Twombly ’21, who is allergic to eggs, suggests that the cafeteria broadcasts the change in ingredients to ensure students with allergies know that the crust is currently different than in the past. 

“I think [the cafeteria] should put out labels next to the pizza that grab attention so people with allergies don’t eat the food,” Twombly said. 

Thomas stated in his email that the signs at food stations would be updated to list the new allergens, but as of Nov. 1, the second day that the new pizza was served at Staples, the old signs listing just wheat, milk and soy, remained posted. 

The alternative crust will only be used for a limited period of time. Chartwells is working to change over to the original crust as soon as possible. 

“Chartwells is doing their best to try and make this a smoother transition until our regular pizza crust becomes available again,” the email said.