We are proud to announce that our dining hall the caf has earned the first 3 star SPE Certification at a Canadian university! SPE Certified stands for Sanitas Per Escam, or “Health Through Food” in Latin. This unique third-party certification recognizes the commitment of Carleton Dining Services to nutrition, sustainability and our customer’s well-being! SPE’s seal of approval reassures students, faculty and staff at Carleton that meals are created while considering sustainable sourcing of ingredients, healthy culinary techniques, and balanced menu options. Just like Fair Trade Certification is for coffee, and LEED Certification is for buildings, SPE certification is for food!

Areas of Evaluation

Our Registered Dietitians worked closely with SPE’s culinary nutritionist to answer over 350 scientifically-grounded questions about the caf’s operational practices across three key areas: sourcing and sustainability, nutrition and menu balance, and training and transparency.

Sourcing and Sustainability Highlights

  • Menu items change to source local, seasonal ingredients when possible
  • All coffee, tea, coconut and cocoa in the caf are Fair Trade Certified
  • Most seafood in the caf is Marine Stewardship Council certified

Nutrition and Menu Balance Highlights

  • The menu is balanced with a wide variety of vegan, vegetarian and no gluten options
  • Nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains are always available
  • Healthier unsaturated fats such as olive oil, vegetable oil, and fatty fish are encouraged while limiting the use of saturated fats
  • Portion guidelines are followed to encourage more plant-based foods and moderate amounts of animal proteins
  • Healthy cooking techniques such as baking and steaming are favoured over deep-frying
  • Composed plates of proteins, vegetables and starches can be created from the stations at all times
  • Processed ingredients that are highest in sodium added sugars, and artificial additives are limited

Training and Transparency Highlights

  • Registered Dietitians are on staff to consult for nutrition-related support
  • Nutrition and allergen training is delivered to all new staff
  • Dietary icons help students identify appropriate menu options
  • Staff are trained on recommended portions, using portioned serving utensils.


Putting It All Together

What do the above SPE criteria mean for a student who walks into the caf looking for a healthy meal? It means that they’ll have various balanced options available to them across stations in the dining hall at breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, a student may pair sustainably sourced cod from our Farmer’s Market station with a whole-grain quinoa dish from our Vegan station and top it off with a local red beet salad at the Salad Station. The end result is a delicious, balanced meal that has been seasonal, locally and sustainably sourced while using cooking techniques that preserve the integrity and nutritional quality of ingredients.

Look For The Logo

Look for our SPE Certified logo for a visual reassurance that we are committed to your health and well-being and believe in Health Through Food! Learn more at www.SPEcertified.com.