Students concerned about cafeteria’s lack of nutrition info

Fernanda Martinez, Reporter

Bakersfield College students have recently expressed their concerns that the BC cafeteria does not have nutritional information for the food items on their menus. Though it is not required under law, some students would like to receive this information when they ask for it. Food allergies, illnesses, and other personal food concerns are some of the reasons as to why students would like to see this information. Cody White, a BC student, stated that it would be beneficial for everyone to have this information in his opinion.

“I have a buddy who is allergic to gluten so he has to be very careful with the carbs he eats. As for me, I like to exercise and it would be helpful to know how many calories I’m eating when I buy food here because if I’m eating something that is not that healthy I would like to know how much calories I need to burn off when I exercise,” he said. Suzanne Durst, BC culinary arts faculty, stated that for the amount of people that the cafeteria serves, it would be crazy to break down food items for everyone who has a different condition.

“I think more importantly than a nutritional label would be to have the employees understand the ingredients that are contained in what they are preparing. I don’t think you need a nutritional label to know if there is milk in something. My students have no trouble telling me if there is something with milk or something like that. But nutritional labeling in that environment doesn’t even make sense to me,” stated Durst.

Durst also mentioned that it is a personal responsibility to be aware of the things a person is not allowed to eat. For example, if a person knows he or she is lactose intolerant, always ask if there is any milk in the food they are consuming. Katey Souza, also a BC student, mentioned that she has struggled to maintain her weight and does not always have time to make lunch.

“It’s hard to estimate how many calories are in a sandwich that looks healthy. Like, I usually eat a lot of tuna, but I’m sure the tuna sandwich here has a lot of mayo. I’ll usually grab a salad because I try to stay away from the fried foods on the menu.” An employee from the BC cafeteria asked to remain anonymous when they stated that they believed the food services had never calculated any of that information.

“We simply have recipes that we follow, like we put so much of these ingredients and so on.” The Rip made attempts to reach out to Erik Sabella, director of food services at BC, but was never available for comments. Alex Gomez, a culinary arts faculty at BC, mentioned that he believes the cafeteria should provide the information because it would be a positive thing.

“I think it would be a positive thing for the cafeteria. I also think it would help sell the healthier items on the menu instead of everybody just buying a double cheese burger and fries.” Gomez mentioned that before becoming a culinary arts faculty member, he was working as the food services director for the college’s cafeteria. “When I was over there I wasn’t able to get to that point because I didn’t have the tools I needed,” stated Gomez. “I wanted to get electronic menu boards to make it easier to put that information and display it. I think the cafeteria should at least have the calories displayed, like a double cheese burger… 1200 calories or whatever. That would be the first step into doing this.”

Gomez also mentioned that people should be aware of how many calories they are consuming even if they are not dieting. “If you have a soda and a burger and fries, well there goes half of the caloric intake for your day,” said Gomez. “It helps to take nutrition to know about all of that, like about what type of diets and what food to eat and all the food groups.” Leah Carter, nutrition faculty at BC, mentioned that she always supports providing individuals with information about what they are eating. “The cafeteria is not required by law to have this pretty much because they stand alone however it would be nice if someday they provided it,” said Carter. “It certainly can be done but it just depends on the staff to calculate all of that.”

Carter said that it would be a lot considering that the cafeteria menu contains many items from breakfast to lunch.