Fare Deals in Uni Meals. Communal Catering for All Tastes
University catering calls for much attention, responsibility, and enterprise as school meals. The start of a new academic year and of a new intake of school-leavers add to the significance of the connexion.
Caterers in universities are faced with diverse challenges in meeting the requirements and enjoyment of consumers – young and old – from different cultures and lifestyles, and with preferences for ingredients meeting environmental, economic, and marketing stipulations.
Many will be taking lasting care of their health and lifestyles in accord with advice proffered by agencies such as the Food Standards Agency. Many will be continuing developments and growth as significant as those that they have experienced in their years of school meals. “Other” choices in communal catering usually represent an outmoded vegetarian style that inadequately serves a number of kindred interests and unnecessarily creates vexatious sub-divisions, e.g. “vegetarian” and “vegan”.
Growing enterprise in the foodservice industry renders such barrier avoidable: true vegetarian menus can be constructed and developed that satisfy the increasing population the market recognizes as meat reducers, dairy-frees, vegans, adherents to various religious principles and customs and to expressions of animal and environmental welfare (and “rights”).
Such practices, tastefully demonstrated, comprise investments in the Portfolio of lifestyle and dietary habit warmly commended by nutritional and medical authorities alarmed at the avoidable prevalence of obesity and premature disease. Universities and teaching institutions offer exceptional opportunities to manifest this responsible trend. Further, such institutions entertain many conferences and gatherings for whom the alternative veggie alternative would add to the other pleasures in their gatherings. We would be happy to offer freely advice to caterers wishing to improve their services in this way and to keep us informed with their experiences.
We are a scientific research Trust – a registered charity with no commercial affiliations, but with a lot of experience of catering in halls of residence, refectories, and canteens. Anyone wishing so can search for information on the Portfolio diet and healthy eating on our database, available for free from our website.
The EU and Food Standards Agency Clash Over Contaminated British Dairy Products
On 6 October 2006, reports were received that European food officials had discovered cheese contaminated with antibiotics, dyes, and detergents and that they had announced a series of emergency inspections. The European Commission directed a warning that Britain must change its approach to guarantee hygiene standards. The Commission is likely to start litigation against Britain on Thursday 12 October 2006.
The British Government has been forced to defend its tests on milk for health and safety, which it insists assure the public that animal-derived milks are fit for consumption and use. A row that began as "a dispute over a sharp practice at a Lancashire cheesemaker's" erupted during Friday 6 October to threaten the reputation of the entire dairy industry and raised the spectre of another food scare after the disastrous foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 and the beef ban over 'mad cow' disease" (The Times, 7 October 2006).
The dairy industry is currently in turmoil for other reasons notably arising from bovine tuberculosis and an outbreak in the Low Countries of Blue Tongue disease, which is transmitted by Culicoides midges. This is a new strain of Blue Tongue (strain 8), more of a threat to cattle than sheep, which distinguishes it from the virus spreading northwards from southern Europe.
The dairy industry and associated aspects of live/deadstock farming are reeling under threats that seem more sustainable than excuses trotted out for the "white stuff" and its co-products and by-products, among which we can include the pathetic calves destined for the veal trade, even when Virtue Adding Tricks (VAT) are invented for "rosy welfare friendly" meat.
Packaging bears numerous warnings of possible contaminations of traces of allergens in foods sufficient to deter purchasers with certain aversions. Multipurpose factories and production lines cannot be decontaminated rigorously enough to prevent batch to batch transmission of potential allergens.
But what of foods produced for consumption unpackaged on site for communal occasions or for family meals coming from domestic kitchens? And what defines an allergy and the reasons behind the aversions prompted by intolerances of foods variously judged as “impure” or unfit to buy and eat?
The Food Standards Agency has bravely launched a consultation exercise on this topic. We have accepted the challenge, reminding the FSA particularly of the embarrassments of some customers confronted with doubts over accessories and processes such as cooking oils and fats, stocks and soups; and the chips are really down with reservations over the fat in the frier. And who likes the veggieburger served with tongs just used on sizzling pork sausages.
The Chillingham herd are white cattle, most likely remnants of Britain’s wild cattle.A report on the Chillingham herd has now been added to our website.
The cattle reside in Northumberland in the Chillingham Park, which has been enclosed since 1270AD. This report gives information on the background of domesticated cattle, on the Chillingham herd and on the behaviour of the Chillingham cattle. It also makes a comparison between the behaviour and conditions of the Chillingham and farmed dairy cattle.
Chillingham cattle live a life with hardly any human involvement while dairy cattle in modern farming are pushed to their physiological limits through a combination of selective breeding and high-protein feeds, and are far from living a natural life.
Yielding to a petition to review its position on supplies to about 50 schools customers, Fred Capewell, managing director of Class Catering in Bromsgrove, reported that a number of parents and headteachers had been enquiring about the origins and methods of slaughter of meat sold to schools.
Enquirers wanted to know if, unknown to parents and pupils, halal procedures were followed. Some schools have asked for such meat to be taken out of the supply, but the firm has not withdrawn it from the wholesale trade. Mr Capewell has undertaken to identify the halal products on the school menu, so that customers can make informed choices over what they are eating. He complained of a disproportionate reaction “considering the very small amount of halal meat that his company supplied.”
Management at Dalehead Foods in Linton has admitted an incident in which 2 live pigs were put into scalding water at a meat-processing plant in Cambridgeshire.
They have sacked the worker responsible and explained that “pigs had been put into the water tank without being properly slaughtered on 2 occasions” (Meat Trades Journal, 13 October 2006). A spokesman added: “In May Dalehead Foods was obliged to suspend and retrain an employee who had not followed mandatory procedures at its site at Linton, Cambridgeshire. Following the report of a further breach this month by the same employee Dalehead Foods invoked disciplinary proceedings, the outcome of which was the termination of the employee’s contract”.
Sedgemoor District Council has successfully prosecuted Brake Brothers Foodservice Ltd following an accident at their Highbridge-based warehouse in Somerset...
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Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) brought a prosecution on the basis of discoveries made during a routine investigation at a Morrisons store in Cumbria...
Mothers' Union Renew the Ten Commandments with a Green Theme and a Veggie Beat
The Mothers’ Union is issuing a new version of the Ten Commandments.
The MU is a powerful Christian pressure group of 3.6 million members within the worldwide Anglican Communion. It has issued its new style of self-disciplines in a drive to help the world’s poor and to fight against climate change. It takes as its text the Old Testament prophet Micah, who urged the Israelites to ‘act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God’” (Times, 16 October 2006).