Carleton University’s student dining hall the caf has earned the first three-star SPE Certification awarded to a Canadian post-secondary institution recognizing the commitment of Carleton Dining Services to nutrition, sustainability and well-being.
SPE Certification is a food service industry standard aimed at enhancing the nutritional quality of meals without compromising taste. SPE stands for Sanitas per Escam in Latin; its English translation is Health Through Food.
“The SPE certification is a rigorous, third-party process that requires institutions to demonstrate their commitment to providing healthy food – through purchasing, preparation, and choices – in their dining halls,” said Holly Sharpe, a registered dietitian with Carleton Dining Services.
“By achieving three-star certification in the caf – the highest certification possible – Carleton has shown that we are operating at a gold standard. We seek feedback from our students regularly so that we can improve to better meet their nutritional and dietary needs. The caf serves about 7,500 meals every day, primarily to students living in residence. This certification clearly shows we are dedicated to their health, wellness and success.”
SPE Certified seal of approval assures students, faculty and staff at Carleton that meals are created while considering sustainable sourcing of ingredients, healthy culinary techniques and balanced menu options. A culinary nutritionist from SPE Certified worked closely with Carleton’s registered dietitian to answer more than 350 questions about operational priorities, product sourcing, menu offering, preparation techniques, communication practices and environmental stewardship programs.
The caf serves nutrient-dense ingredients, uses healthier fats in cooking and regularly offers whole grains and legumes across stations in the dining hall at breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, the caf offers low-sugar, high-fibre options, as well as vegetables with the hot offering. At lunch and dinner, there are always vegan options, frequently with minimally processed legumes and whole intact grains, made-to-order salads at the salad bar and most soups and sauces made in house.
Carleton is also committed to sustainable sourcing and supporting the region through programs for fair trade, composting, recycled products, regional food sourcing and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.
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