Dining Services creating labels for students with restricted diets

Marlene Brueggemann

It was labeled vegetable soup. It looks like vegetable soup. It tastes like vegetable soup.

Mohammad Abdulrahman, an English as a second language institute student from Saudi Arabia, says he once found something he couldn’t identify in his vegetable soup at the Fresh Food Company.

He asked one of the servers.

It was bacon.

Abdulrahman, who is Muslim, is forbidden by his religion to eat pork. He had to return his plate.

Aramark will begin labeling foods at the Fresh Food Company in Downing University Center after concerns were raised that students with restricted diets weren’t being properly informed of what was in their food.

The changes will be implemented before the end of the semester, said Barry Wells, senior food service director for Aramark.

Food will be labeled as vegetarian-friendly and there will also be labels that identify whether the food contains pork.

Robin Borczon, director of International Programs, sent an e-mail to Aramark officials last month informing them about student concerns.

She said she appreciates their initiative.

“We are pleased that they are responding to the expressed needs of our students and we know that our student population will greatly appreciate their efforts,” Borczon said.

Aramark officials are taking steps toward printing menu identification cards and coding them to ensure that the foods they serve are clearly marked, Wells said.

He said Aramark employees will be made aware of the problems that could arise from the misunderstandings.

Labels couldn’t be implemented earlier because efforts had to be coordinated and approved with the Fresh Food Company brand, he said.

Reach Marlene Brueggemann at [email protected].