Catering Services in the House of Commons

Written evidence submitted by Kerry McCarthy MP

I understand you are the person to contact with comments/ suggestions about catering facilities in the Commons.

I am a vegan, as are at least two other MPs. There are many others who are vegetarian. (I emailed around during the last parliamentary session and I think about 20 MPs replied to say they were vegetarian, or in some cases ate fish but not meat).

The provision for us in Parliament really is poor. In particular there is no reason why the salad bars could not be made more suitable for vegans/ vegetarians - for example, not putting meat in the pasta salads, not smothering everything with mayonnaise, etc. I wish the caterers would just stop and think before they add extra ingredients to a dish, and consider whether they could produce something very similar, with either the meat/ dairy option on the side, or without it altogether. This would also be helpful to those with food intolerances. Why can't the salad bars operate on a similar principle to places like Tossed, where all the ingredients are separate and people just make their own combination?

Also - and you may not be the right person to lobby on this - it's World Vegan Day on 1st November, and the whole of November is earmarked as World Vegan Month. Any chance of noting this, for example, by having a day when there are several vegan options on the menus around the House?

Thank you for reading this.

October 2010