Western adds Halal products on campus

Food offered on a trial basis to see how well it sells

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western’s Muslim students can sleep in a little longer now that they don’t have to pack their lunches every day if they want to eat meat on campus. Some Halal food, or food permissible under Islam, is now available in several locations across campus.

In response to student requests, Western’s Hospitality Services has added specially labelled sandwiches made with Halal meat to its Lifestyles fridges in some campus locations.

Halal forbids Muslims from consuming pork and restricts how animals are slaughtered, among other things.

“Getting Halal food on campus is something the [Muslim Students’ Association] has wanted for a long time,” said Hassan Ahmad, Western’s MSA president.

Ahmad said until recently, when the sandwiches were added, Muslim students had limited food choices on campus.

He said he understands change happens slowly, and while he sees this as a victory, he hopes even more choices can be added in the future, especially in residences.

“This is a very positive sign the university is taking the needs of Muslim students seriously,” Ahmad said.

“The food is being introduced on a trial basis to see how well it sells,” said Frank Miller, director of Hospitality Services.

Last week, HS sold 71 Halal sandwiches, which Miller said is fair, considering the products weren’t marketed.

Miller said while HS doesn’t control the products used by franchises like Harvey’s and Manchu Wok, Pita Pit is considering using Halal meat on a separate grill.

He said HS is excited to offer students more choices, and as long as the food sells, students will see more of it in more locations.

Western’s Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Mordechai Silberberg, said he has worked with students to get Kosher food on campus in the past, but since Kosher is extremely strict, they haven’t been very successful.

Miller said prepared Kosher food is brought into residences during Passover and other religious periods, when many Jews follow Kosher, but the food is too expensive and difficult to offer year-round.

Susan Grindrod, director of Western’s Housing and Ancillary Services, said most students understand that by virtue of leaving home and coming to university, they may not be able to have things exactly the same as they were at home.

“Our students are very resilient and flexible,” she said. “But Western is a secular university, and while we try our best to accommodate everyone’s needs, some students follow very strict requirements, and we can’t always meet all of them.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette