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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Bon Appetit wins marquis vegan rating despite qualms

<rleton’s dining halls have received a nod of approval from peta2, PETA’s youth division. The organization gave Carleton an A on its Vegan Report Card, according to its website.

This is the third year peta has reported on college dining halls and the second year Carleton has been nominated for a grade.

Last year Carleton got a B.

Carleton got a check in nine out of ten categories this year, including “offers at least one vegan entrée at every meal,” “labels vegan entrées” and “includes a vegan member on its student advisory board.”

For a perfect 10, Carleton would have to implement an all-vegan dining facility.

peta2’s media department said their research is done between July and September of each year “through extensive meetings with students, on-campus outreach efforts, and discussions with the dining services staff members.”

They also ask students on their website for a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” based on their satisfaction with campus vegan options.

At Carleton, 81 percent of respondents said they were satisfied.

Junior Josie Bealle, who is vegan, said Carleton might not deserve an A. Although the report card said Carleton offers an all-vegan station, she said Bon Appétit’s all vegetarian station, Wild Thymes serves non-vegan food all the time.

Bealle is pleased that Bon Appetit expanded the vegan breakfast selection two years ago, and would like to see the same happen with brunch and dessert.

Katie McKenna, the general manager of Bon Appetit at Carleton said she pays close attention to what students are actually eating.

“Students vote with their forks,” McKenna said. “If we prepare something and the students eat a lot of it, we are going to serve it again.”

Given that relatively few students are vegan, this may not seem very encouraging for vegans. But McKenna says Bon Appetit tries to be very conscious of students with dietary restrictions and that all feedback is welcome.

Another controversial topic is labeling. PETA was satisfied with Bon Appetit’s labeling of entrees and vegan desserts, but it seems that the report card was only concerned with the presence, not accuracy, of labeling.

“They do a fairly good job of labeling accurately],” Bealle said. “But sometimes vegan food is only labeled vegetarian, and sometimes vegetarian food is labeled vegan.”

McKenna said that mislabeling can occur when a recipe changes. The chefs sometimes decide to make a small substitution in a particular dish, but they might not remember to update the dietary restriction labels.

“It is sometimes missed on the signs that we put out,” McKenna said. “I think the most important information for someone with special dietary needs, is to always check the ingredient lists.”

Nonetheless, these are minor points and the overall picture is bright. Carleton is one of only two colleges in the state to have received an A on the peta2 report card, the other one being St. Olaf.

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