By: Mohamed Mahmoud
McMaster University is home to thousands of students from across Canada and around the world. With such a wide reach of geographic diversity comes a variety of people from different cultures and religions.
A diverse student body and staff means the university’s Hospitality Services team should be able to provide an inclusive environment for everyone.
The issue I would like to specifically bring to light is the lack of halal food options provided by McMaster Hospitality Services and the clarity with which these options are presented.
Just so we are on the same page, ‘halal meat’ is simply meat that is hand slaughtered in a specific manner to ensure a more humane and clean slaughter of an animal for consumption.
In Canada, halal food is becoming increasingly popular. In keeping with the times, McMaster should accelerate their progress to accommodate these food needs for groups with food preferences.
Some people choose to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, with others preferring halal meals.
This is not exclusively a religious dietary choice, but may just be a dietary preference.
Those who eat halal food have limited food options and don’t always want to settle for just a vegetarian meal.
The students who are affected by this the most live in residence on campus and are restricted to the food on campus for their meals on days that cooking may not be an option.
These students are not given equal opportunity to have a diverse menu when compared to those who may not have this personal preference.
On campus, halal options are currently available in most food places on campus. For example, the East Meets West Bistro in Keyes boasts a menu where almost all chicken meals are halal.
However, labelling halal meet in a way that makes it clear to students what is halal and what isn’t has become less common.
It simply isn’t enough to rely on the employees to provide such information.
When I personally asked the line workers at some locations in Centro and La Piazza about the halal options, they were unable to answer and could not point me to the right person who would know.
This contradicts the “make McMaster your second home” goal for students, and may leave customers feeling like their dietary preferences are not welcomed in the McMaster community.
It is evident that McMaster Hospitality Services is able to provide halal meats from their suppliers, but it isn’t clear why these options are not always available and aren’t campus wide.
If one meal can be halal, why can’t all of them be? Honestly, when the Willy Dog cart seems to have to clearest dietary options with both halal and vegetarian options, you know things need to be re-assessed.
McMaster prides itself in its diverse population and its ability to provide accommodations for different groups on.
Seeing as the McMaster community is becoming more diverse each year, why can’t the options for dietary keep up in diversity?