Have you ever noticed the icons next to certain dishes in Café Mac? If you have dietary restrictions or choose to abstain from eating a variety of foods, these icons will likely guide your daily food choice. These logos are part of a Bon Appétit program called Circle of Responsibility (COR), and there are a lot of things about this program that students may not know.

The COR, which includes icons that designate foods as “Vegan,” “Vegetarian” and “Seafood Watch,” was started in 2003 at Bon Appétit’s corporate office. According to Amy Jackson, the Catering Director at Macalester, the program was originally tested at the corporate location and one of Bon Appétit’s education accounts. The icons that were a part of the original rollout are not fixed. As guest feedback comes in, COR has evolved to meet the needs of those dining at their locations. The “made-without-gluten-containing ingredients” icon is an example of one of the newer additions to the program, as it became clear that identifying which foods has gluten in them was important to guests.

Here is a breakdown of the four most common icons that one can look for:

Vegetarian: Contains no meat, fish, poultry, shellfish or products derived from these sources. May contain dairy or eggs.

Vegan: Contains absolutely no animal or dairy products.

Made without gluten-containing ingredients: If students have questions they should ask a server to direct them to an on-site manager or chef to learn how these items are prepared in the open kitchens that also handle gluten for other menu items.

Seafood Watch: Contains seafood that meets the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” guidelines. When an item is marked with the “Seafood Watch” icon, it means that the seafood meets a certain set of standards. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program helps commercial buyers such as Bon Appétit decide what its best choice is for sourcing seafood in order to sustain a healthy ocean. According to the Seafood Watch Standard for Fisheries version F3.1 (January 2016 – September 2016) from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, “[Seafood Watch] researches and evaluates the environmental impact of aquaculture products and shares these seafood recommendations.”

So next time you are in Café Mac and looking at the menu to decide what you want for your meal, look at the icons!

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