Helpful Dietary Information

From time to time you may host a student who has special dietary requirements. We will always let you know in advance if this is the case and a supplementary payment may be payable to you when catering for students with special dietary needs.
Below is some helpful information about gluten free and Halal diets.

Gluten Free Diet

Here’s a summary of gluten-free foods, questionable foods and foods that aren’t safe for coeliacs to eat:
• Fruits and Vegetables: All fresh products should be safe. Watch out for pre-packaged fruit and vegetable products (including frozen and canned goods), which may contain gluten or be subject to cross-contamination.
• Meats and Fish: Fresh meats, poultry and fish, with no added ingredients, are safe if they’re kept away from gluten cross-contamination at the store. Pre-packaged products, such as hams, bacon, sausages and lunch meats, may or may not contain gluten. Several manufacturers label processed meat products as gluten-free.
• Milk and Dairy Products: Fresh milk, butter, plain yogurt, fresh eggs and many cheeses are gluten-free. Some other products found in the dairy section, such as tapioca pudding, are gluten-free. Some ice creams are gluten-free and some are not — you’ll need to check ingredient label.
• Breads, Snacks, Cereals and Pastas: With few exceptions, anything you buy in these categories should be specifically labeled “gluten-free.” Most grocery stores carry a few of these gluten-free staples, but you may find the best selection online.
• Prepared Foods: Only buy frozen dinners or frozen pizzas specifically marked “gluten-free” — some larger supermarkets carry a nice selection. Many canned soups contain gluten, so check the ingredients. Ethnic food sections in supermarkets frequently contain some prepared foods that are gluten-free.
• Baking Mixes and Supplies: Any baking mix you purchase should be specifically labelled “gluten-free.” Most baking supplies, such as baking soda, sugar and cocoa, are considered gluten-free, but you should check ingredients on the label to make certain.
• Condiments, Sauces and Spices: You’ll need to check ingredients and/or call manufacturers in most cases to determine what’s gluten-free and what’s not. Heinz ketchup and French’s yellow mustard are considered gluten-free, and there are multiple gluten-free options for tomato sauce and salad dressing. Don’t buy soy sauce unless it’s specifically labelled “gluten-free.”
• Coffee, Tea, Fizzy drinks, Fruit Drinks and Alcohol: Unflavoured coffee and plain black or green tea should be gluten-free, but flavoured varieties may not be. The most popular fizzy drinks in the UK are considered gluten-free. Juice made from 100% fruit should be gluten-free, but fruit drinks made from fruit plus other ingredients may not be. You’ll need to buy gluten-free beer, since conventional beer contains gluten. Wine is gluten-free (unless you’re super-sensitive). Many people react to gluten grain-derived alcoholic beverages.


This guide provides information about foods acceptable to the Muslim community. Muslims around the world practice the religion of Islam. The practice of Islam includes observing dietary laws which come from Islamic teachings. Islamic dietary laws define foods that are Halal, meaning lawful or permitted. Muslims avoid food and beverages that are Haram, meaning not permitted. Increased awareness of culturally acceptable foods improves our ability to meet the needs of a diverse society. It is important to take into consideration each individual’s perspective on his/her cultural and religious practice. The information provided in this guide will assist you when planning and serving meals, snacks or refreshments for the Muslim community.

Tips for Planning Meals/Snacks/Refreshments

1. Food traditions and dietary habits are affected by religion and culture. Ask the participants or group leader if anyone has special dietary needs.
2. Display the Halal certification symbol, food ingredient label or Halal store cash receipt.
3. Provide a vegetarian entrée using legumes as an alternative to meat dishes.
4. Read food labels carefully and regularly when purchasing food, as ingredients can change without notice.

Milk and Milk Products

✓ Milk
✓ Yoghurt, cheese and ice cream made with bacterial culture or microbial enzymes, e.g. microbial rennet
✗ Cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, frozen tofu desserts, made with animal rennet, gelatin, lipase, pepsin, pure or artificial vanilla extract or whey
Meat and Alternatives
✓ Meat and poultry slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law (Zabihah)
✓ Seafood
✓ Eggs
✓ Nuts, seeds
✓ Peanut butter
✓ Tofu
✓ Halal deli meats
✓ Dried beans, peas and lentils
✗ Pork and pork products, e.g. bacon, deli meats, ham and sausage
✗ Meat and poultry not slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law
✗ Canned beans, peas and lentils containing pork
✗ Any meat and meat alternative dish prepared with alcohol, pork products or animal shortening

Vegetables and Fruit

✓ All vegetables and fruit: raw, dried, frozen or canned.
✓ All vegetables and fruit cooked or served with water, butter, or vegetable oils
✓ All juices
✗ Any vegetables and fruit prepared with alcohol, animal shortening, bacon, gelatin, lard or some margarines which contain monoglycerides or diglycerides from an animal source

Grain Products

✓ Rice
✓ Pasta
✓ Any grain product, such as bread, breakfast cereal or baked goods prepared without Haram ingredients
✗ Any grain products prepared with Haram ingredients such as alcohol, animal shortening, lard or pure and artificial vanilla extract


✓ Beverages: carbonated drinks, fruit juice, punch, cocktails, tea and coffee
✓ Fats and oils: butter, margarine, mayonnaise, vegetable oils and some salad dressings
✓ Miscellaneous: chutneys, coconut milk, jam, pickles, spices
✓ Desserts made with agar and/or carrageenan base only
✓ Sweeteners: honey, sugar, syrup, chocolate liquor (roasted ground cocoa bean syrup)
✗ Beverages: beer, wine, alcohol, liqueur
✗ Fats and oils: animal shortening, lard
✗ Miscellaneous: chocolates/candies made with alcohol or pure or artificial vanilla extract
✗ Desserts made with gelatin
✗ Sweeteners: chocolate liqueur (made from alcohol)

Combination Food

✓ Main dish entrées: any Zabihah meat or alternative dish, pizza, pasta or rice prepared without Haram foods and ingredients
✓ Soups/sauces: any made without Haram foods and ingredients
✓ Desserts and sweets: any made without alcohol, or without pure or artificial vanilla extract or any other Haram ingredient
✗ Main dish entrées: any combination foods prepared with Haram foods and ingredients
✗ Soups/sauces: any prepared with Haram foods and ingredients
✗ Desserts and sweets: any prepared with alcohol, pure or artificial vanilla extract or any other Haram ingredient

Halal Certified Food

Many foods are clearly Halal or clearly Haram. However, certain foods are difficult to classify because of the ingredients they contain. Check for Halal certification or read food labels. Check carefully each time you buy food products, as manufacturers may change ingredients without notice. For meat and poultry to be Halal, it must be slaughtered according to Islamic dietary laws (Zabihah). Serving appropriate vegetarian or plant-based foods is encouraged. For more information and food choices, please see the Halal Foods (Permitted Foods) . Most foods are considered Halal except the following:

Haram Foods (Not Permitted)

• Pork and its by-products e.g. gelatin, lipase, pepsin
• Meat from animals not slaughtered according to the Islamic dietary law
• Alcohol and foods prepared with alcohol e.g. sweets and cakes that include alcohol such as rum cake
• Foods made with pure or artificial vanilla extract (vanilla is prepared with alcohol)
• Foods containing blood and blood by-products e.g. black pudding
• Foods made with any of the following: whey prepared with non-microbial enzyme, rennet, animal shortening, monoglycerides and diglycerides from an animal source, sodium stearoyllactylate, L-cysteine.