By Maria Carrillo
University of Houston Dining Services is delighted to announce a new addition to the Fresh Food Company in Moody Towers. In response to growing demand, the previous gluten-friendly station will now also serve halal dishes.
The new station is a direct result of a focus group held during the spring semester that was hosted by Dietitian Sarah Feye. More than 180 students attended the event, with 80 percent of them saying that if halal was offered at the Fresh Food Company, it would greatly impact how often they ate in the dining hall.
The station will open at the start of the fall semester directly behind the vegetarian station, facing the windows. It will be a fusion of two highly requested dietary needs. According to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, nearly 7 percent of people are allergic to or have a gluten sensitivity. When individuals have gluten sensitivity, they cannot eat items that contain wheat, barley or rye. Halal is a type of meat that has been blessed before becoming humanely eradicated and upholds strict processing guidelines. It must be prepared separately from other non-halal (haram) meats, alcohol and any products derived from pigs, including gelatin and lard. Halal meats are an important part of a Muslim diet.
“Our designated station at the Fresh Food Company is a prime location for both of these dietary accommodations,” Feye said. “The station is separate from other non-halal and gluten containing foods. The station has a separate refrigerator, preparation area and station-specific equipment. Our staff has also been educated on how to prepare food that will comply with both dietary needs.”
The addition of the new station is a step UH Dining Services has taken to meet the UH community’s varied dietary needs. Dining Services also has a vegetarian/vegan station at the Fresh Food Company, and has designated Cougar Woods as a nut-free facility in order to serve students, faculty and staff with nut allergies.
Students, faculty and staff are able to meet with Feye to discuss dietary needs and solutions. To set up an appointment or to get more information, visit the nutrition page of the UH Dining website.