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Health Through Food Launches

UC Davis Dining Services is proud to partner to with SPE Certified to feature healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals in the dining commons.

UC Davis will be the first university on the West Coast to feature SPE certified dishes, a unique and innovative third party certification for food. The team of culinary nutritionists at SPE Certified have reviewed 140 current dining hall recipes to evaluate how well the fit into SPE Certified strict scientific guidelines for optimum nutrition and environmental sustainability. The “Go Live” platform at Segundo and Tercero, and the "Saucy Saute" station at Cuarto will be transformed to become TASTE and will feature SPE certified meals for Fall Quarter.

What does “SPE Certified” mean?

SPE stands for “Sanitas Per Escam”, which means “Health Through Food” in Latin; this saying is based off its philosophy of Sourcing, Preparing, and Enhancing. SPE certified meals contain only quality, nutrient-dense ingredients that are sourced locally and seasonally. All ingredients are encouraged to be organic and non­GMO when available and the protein must be antibiotic free. To earn certification, a dish must be prepared in a way that preserves intrinsic nutritional content of the food instead of destroying it. Roasting, steaming, and sauteing are the preferred methods of preparation over carcinogen causing charbroiling or trans fat forming deep frying. Each ingredient is paired to enhance nutrient absorption. For example, iron rich foods are combined with vitamin C rich foods for optimum absorption. Sodium and potassium ratios are considered and balanced. Above all these requirements: taste matters. An SPE Certified dish is prepared in a manner that does not sacrifice the dish’s taste for nutritional benefits. The guidelines were developed by a panel of experts in the fields of sustainability, nutrition, medicine, and health. The red SPE seal gives consumers confidence that they are supporting not only their personal health, but the health of their community.

Staff and students alike share excitement for the changes to come. “The SPE philosophy of properly sourcing, preparing and enhancing food to create a nutritionally certified meal is perfectly aligned with the Sustainability and Nutrition mission at UC Davis Dining Services.” said Linda Adams R.D. the Director of Sustainability and Nutrition for Dining Services. "SPE certification will allow a one stop, easy way for students to select a meal that will nourish them completely, setting them up for academic success.  Additionally it creates leadership opportunities for Student Nutrition Coordinators working with Dining Services. I am very excited to be partnering with SPE Certified. It is moving our program to the next level!”

“I am really looking forward to seeing SPE certified meals at UC Davis. I hope to see it become commonplace when eating out in the future” said Christine Richardson, a leader in a new the student group ECNAP dedicated to nutrition and sustainability.

By working together UC Davis Dining Services and SPE Certified will make it easy for students and staff to choose meals that are not only healthy and sustainable but also delicious.

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