Penn State Food Services has switched to halal-certified chicken in an effort to provide foods that can be enjoyed by students with religious food requirements.
This halal option will enable practicing Muslim students at the university to order dishes that they normally could not due to Islamic dietary restrictions regarding meat and the way that it is slaughtered.
The school — which, with nearly 50,000 students is one of the largest universities in the United States —already has kosher options for Jewish students as well as a food allergen-free station that does not serve dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, gluten, or sesame. That made the idea of incorporating a halal option that much simpler.
“We wanted to address the issue of not having many proteins that would fit the Halal diet,” Bill Laychur, Penn State’s corporate executive chef, told the university’s independently published paper, the Daily Collegian. “I said, ‘Why don’t we just make our chicken thighs Halal certified and serve them everywhere?’ That way no matter where you're at you can get some protein that's Halal certified.”
It’s great that the university is making it so simple for Muslim students to have access to halal meat, because it isn’t always easy. A Muslim man once sued Little Caesars over “halal” pepperoni pizza.