UPDATE: College responds to halal meat controversy

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CHICHESTER College has admitted it is serving halal meat in one of its restaurants, but says it has not received any complaints.

It followed a story on a national newspaper website, which quoted an unnamed complainant.

A college spokeswoman Helen Ward said controversy erupted after an unnamed student emailed a newspaper, but added: “There has been no ‘row’ or ‘outrage’ and this story is based on one alleged customer.

The national newspaper claimed a student had been ‘outraged’ to discover they had been served halal meat, which is controversial because of the way animals are slaughtered.

The spokeswoman said: “They [the complainant] have not spoken to anyone at college, either ourselves or the manager at Aramark, our contract caterers, about their concerns so there has been no conversation where information has been withheld. Neither have we had any complaints since the story came out.

“There are several restaurants in the college. The two teaching restaurants do not and have never served halal meat and have no plans to do so.

“The main refectory is operated by Aramark, an external contract caterer, with whom the College has worked for many years. During the summer we had a number of international summer school students in College, many of whom were Muslim and required halal meat. At this point Halal lamb and chicken was served to satisfy the demand, halal beef has never been served.

“Since the start of the new term a proportion of chicken and lamb served is halal. The caterer’s decision to purchase this is because the aim is always to provide good quality food at as reasonable a price as possible for users of the refectory and currently halal chicken and lamb meet this criteria. There has never been any intention to avoid telling customers when meat is halal, or indeed the source or ingredients of anything served in the refectory and customers who have asked have been informed of this.

“All halal meat served is sourced from suppliers who stun before slaughter.”

She said this was contrary to a report which was run in a national newspaper.

“The college has a strong student voice and Aramark colleagues always try to listen and respond to the views of the students and staff, who are the customers,” she said.

“If there is a demand to look at any further at what is served or provide advance information, these views will be considered in the usual way. In the meantime there will be a continued focus on giving a range of high quality, nutritious food which will satisfy customers with many different tastes and diets.”