Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Myth: Are there laxatives in the cafeteria food?

Sophomore Mikhael Volker is sure that FAU puts laxatives in the food so they “don’t get sued for food poisoning.”

Chartwells, the company that provides the food services at FAU, says the myth is untrue.
“The rumor is far-fetched and an easy out that students use to explain their digestive problems,” says Dean Samuels, the marketing manager for the FAU branch of Chartwells. “Chartwells does not put laxatives in its food.”

But Volker doesn’t believe that.
“[The servers] put laxatives in the food so it goes through the body so fast that the intestines can’t absorb any food poisoning or contamination that might be in the food,” the education major says.

The rumor has been used by students to suggest that the more cafeteria food you eat, the more time you spend on the toilet. However, there is no evidence that supports this rumor.  There are many more realistic ways to explain these digestive problems. 

Kimberly May, a dietician at the University of South Florida’s Student Health Services department, offers several explanations for why students’ stomachs might become upset when eating certain foods.
“Temporary digestive problems can sometimes be caused by excessive food intake, especially excessive fat or sugar, that is, eating a large meal and dessert to the point of being overly full,” she says.

However, some students believe that unsanitary conditions in the cafeteria workplace lead to tainted food and upset stomachs. 
“I think their [servers’] dirty hands make the food contaminated,” says Joan Wellcast, a freshman who is an undecided major.  “I just don’t trust the cafeteria people.”

Chartwells says this is not the case.
“Our servers wear sanitized gloves,” Dean Samuels says. “They also use a hand sanitizer that is three times stronger than ordinary soap.”

The kitchen staff also regularly replaces used trays, tongs and other utensils with new ones as  another safety procedure.

While some students might believe this rumor, Chartwells assures students that every precaution is taken to ensure that the food served is healthy and free of any laxatives.

Other ways that your digestion can be affected, according to dietician Kimberly May

1. Introduction of spices into the diet

2. Consuming foods with more fiber than you are used to, such as beans, fruits, vegetables, peas and whole-grain foods

3. Eating more dairy products

4. Stress

5. Any significant change in eating habits

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