Langara’s cafeteria lacks nutritional facts

Langara's dining services provider says ingredient lists will be available in September


By Rena Medow

“Where hungry minds gather” might be the mission statement of the company that provides dining services at Langara, yet for years, students have been starved of knowing what ingredients go into the food they are being served.

Chartwells, the company that runs food services on campus, has promised to start providing full nutritional information, following the release of the new Canada Food Guide and the significant dietary changes it is recommending.

As of next September, Chartwells said it would list the full nutritional and ingredient information at the hot entrée stations in the main Langara cafeteria.

The main obstacle right now, said Eli Browne, the director of sustainability and culinary innovation at Chartwells, is that the cooks don’t always follow set recipes.

Some wonder why this hasn’t happened sooner

“Many of our hot food entrées are made from scratch by our chefs and cooks, without following a standard recipe,” Browne said in an email statement. “While this ensures more authentic flavours and cooking techniques, it does make it more difficult to provide nutritional information on a daily basis.”

Students eat lunch at in the cafeteria at Langara. Rena Medow Photo

Browne, who noted that Chartwells made the decision to include nutritional information about their menus two days after the new Canada Food Guide was released, said the company will list ingredients at the hot entrée stations in the main Langara cafeteria.

Langara computer science student Arsh Hothi wonders why this hasn’t happened sooner.

“If you have an allergy to something, not knowing what is in the food could be dangerous,” Hothi said.

Harkamaljit Kaur, a student studying health sciences at Langara, said that students should be able to know the ingredients in food being served.

“I am concerned there are no labels—I want to know what I am eating,” Kaur said.

‘Everybody at Langara is an adult and has to take responsibility for their own nutrition’

For grab-and-go foods like some of the packaged wraps and salads available in the cafeteria, the nutritional information and ingredients are already listed.

The updated version of the guide released last month suggests that Canadians should drink more water instead of sugar-based drinks, cut back on dairy and choose more plant-based proteins.

Monica Molag, department chair of the nutrition and food service program at Langara, believes that ultimately students have to take responsibility for their own nutrition, whether that’s by intuitively making better choices at the cafeteria or the grocery store.

“You can be mindful of your own diet and thereby direct the marketplace through your decisions,” Molag said. “Everybody at Langara is an adult and has to take responsibility for their own nutrition.”


Melissa Baker, manager of nutrition and wellbeing at UBC, tells reporter Rena Medow how students can implement the new food guide into their diets while sticking to a tight budget.

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