Courtyard confirms cooking of vegetarian meals in oil used to fry meat

Previously unsubstantiated claims about The Courtyard’s use of the same cooking oil for frying potato chips as well as meat dishes have been confirmed today

Previously unsubstantiated claims about The Courtyard’s use of the same cooking oil for frying potato chips as well as meat dishes have been confirmed today.

Miles Layram, a member of Veg Soc, who has also filed motions of censure against two YUSU Sabbatical Officers this week, sent an email to the society voicing his concern over the issue. Students, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, have expressed their unease about The Courtyard serving the chips alongside vegetarian meals. Nikoo Atraki, a first year Politics and Economics student observed that despite being a meat-eater: “it’s misleading, and it might be hard for some people to be able to trust The Courtyard again”.

After being questioned about the veracity behind the claims, Lewis Bretts, Democracy and Services Officer, has issued the following statement to Nouse: “I can confirm that on a limited number of occasions, the same oil was used to fry both meat products and chips. As soon as this issue was brought to my attention I discussed this with the Courtyard management and I can confirm that the fryer has now been cleaned and the oil changed. As of Thursday morning, the fryer has been used solely for chips and new management procedures have been put in place to ensure that a similar situation will not occur in future.”

Vegetarian Economics and Finance student, Shivam Pujara stated: “It’s disgraceful, when you’ve been a vegetarian for twenty years of your life and are paying for a meal, it just feels as though it’s against both religious and moral reasons.”

Laurence Cook, a first year Alcuin student who is also a vegetarian commented: “not only is that a gross breach of trust on the part of the customer it’s particularly disappointing from a vegetarian’s perspective.”

Bretts continued: “On behalf of the Courtyard Management I sincerely apologise to anyone affected by this issue, and I hope that our new summer menu will demonstrate our commitment to providing a range of options for all customers.”


  1. 9 Mar ’10 at 3:38 pm

    Tom Forrester

    Oh they only did it for a “limited” period? That’s alright then, because people who never eat meat will happily forgo that for a “limited” period. Oh wait, no they never have, and they never want to – regardless of how “limited” the period was. Great.

    Reply Report

  2. 9 Mar ’10 at 3:58 pm

    Johnny Reporter

    Little late with the scoop there Nouse…

    Reply Report

  3. If the chips had been designated as suitable for vegetarians, might there be grounds for legal action? Not a vegetarian myself but I can understand the reasoning of people who are and I could imagine being upset about inadvertently eating something that had come into contact with meat. Also, get your own stories.

    Reply Report

  4. I’ve got a really strong sense of deja vu but I can’t think why…

    Reply Report

  5. Bill, is it because Nouse politely waited for Vision to break the story first?

    Reply Report

  6. I’m a vegetarian. I’m not strict; I eat fish. And duck. Well, they’re nearly fish, aren’t they? They’re semi-submerged a lot of the time, they spend a lot of time in the water, they’re virtually fish really. And pigs, cows, sheep, anything that lives near water, I’m not strict. I’m sort of like a post-modern vegetarian. I eat meat ironically.

    Reply Report

  7. Sorry guys, but this is a pretty weird thing to do considering Vision already put this in print, like, today. And they had the story first. Desperate to keep uploading content, are we?

    Reply Report

  8. Naughty No-use. You should know better.
    p.s. I’m off to the courtyard later on. You should come too!

    Reply Report

  9. Vision got the scoop in print first? That’s a first.

    Nouse professional – Vision 1

    And well done on today’s print Vision. Spelling is obviously your forte.

    Reply Report

  10. @Err…: try reading Ali Clark’s comment above, and the actual article that states “claims […] have been confirmed today” – implying that Nouse waited until today to publish the article as they were awaiting confirmation and a statement from Bretts.

    Surely if they hadn’t waited for the confirmation then there would be commenters on here complaining that it was all speculation and scaremongering instead of complaining that it is a copied story – looks like Nouse can’t win either way.

    Reply Report

  11. In reality the story’s been around for a while. I’m fairly sure the reason Nouse haven’t put it up isn’t out of kindness to Vision, but that they would be hoping to hold some material back for the print edition next week.

    Reply Report

  12. News is news, other papers are definitely a source for news! I have no problem with it being republished.

    Also, where do vegetarians draw the line btw? Between what is acceptable? For example, if I was picking food up with a utensil and putting it on plates, is that ok to cross between meat and veggie? Or must every stage of the process be done separately?

    Obviously the courtyard sucks, but we all already knew it was overpriced and under par food anyway.

    Reply Report

  13. Sorry Nouse, but I would like to believe you ‘politely waited’ to publish this story, but looking at the Vision story they have numerous sources from the courtyard and know exactly what was happening surrounding the issue, as in which food was cross contaminated etc.

    Whereas your article simply has a quote form Lewis, seems to me Vision did some proper investigative journalism and you relied on your ability to get YUSU insiders to tell you things.

    I don’t know why you even published it, it just highlights that you didn’t know about something quite shocking on campus.

    Reply Report

  14. Oi! Nouse & Vision.
    Shut up.
    Argue somewhere else. I.e at YUM.

    ~or facebook, or find a forum somewhere, or debating soc (of which I am not a member)…

    ~or go and have some courtyard chips… :) ~ please take photos of the inevitable food fight. :)

    Reply Report

  15. I appreciate that this is important to those affected and it does show a general level of – if not incompetence – at least a lack of common sense and care in the Courtyard, but the reaction has been hyperbolic to say the least. Vision may have got to the story first but at least Nouse hasn’t declared it “a major setback to students on campus, and such irresponsible behavior by the union has put a major dent in YUSU relations.” This is sensationalism over what is, ostensibly, some fried potatoes.

    I mean, they’re not even curly fries.

    Reply Report

  16. @randomandy: Vision had quotes and confirmation from Bretts too. This was a pointless article to put on the website, perhaps because Nouse were hoping to capitalise on someone else’s story. It’s unprofessional, unethical and immoral in a university setting to keep attempting to undercut another newspaper like that.

    Reply Report

  17. nouse waited until kinchin gave them the story. Vision found it. Anna Bucks made them wait to break it because she knew it wasn’t theirs.

    Reply Report

  18. What the hell guys? Is there a secret code of news that newspapers cant report what other newspapers report?

    This is stupid. It’s a news website. It publishes news. This is newsworthy. It doens’t matter where it came from.

    Maybe it would have been nice to say ‘ reported in this week’s Vision’ but just because they haven’t doesn’t make it “unprofessional, unethical and immoral”.

    Let me guess, it’s vision writers who are feeling hard done by that another news outlet has covered the same story posting all the comments?

    If a news outlet even student run had an interesting story and wasn’t running it ‘to be nice because someone else broke it first’ then they’re flaming idiots. News runs on remaining current. You don’t do that by being nice and saying ‘oh, good job on the story, we’ll let you have this one’.

    Reply Report

  19. For anyone in any doubt the (brief) chain of events regarding this story are such.

    Vision were tipped off a while back that The Courtyard were using the same oil to cook meat products as food listed as ‘Vegetarian’. After investigating this we found the claims to be true, we put the allegations to Lewis Bretts who admitted (to us) that The Courtyard did in fact follow this practice.

    However, for reasons which are still foreign to me, * decided to leak this story to Nouse while we were getting ready for this story to be printed.

    @Ali Clark
    “Bill, is it because Nouse politely waited for Vision to break the story first?”

    Misleading comment to say the least. The breaking story is that Vision found this out, and as a result, The Courtyard changed their practice.

    As far as I can see all Nouse did was repeat a story they had very limited knowledge about. Repeating stories is abosultely fine but let no one be in any doubt of the nature they obtained it.

    On a wider note, there is a lot more to this story that I hope can come out before the end of term, with specific regard to the behaviour of certain individuals in YUSU.

    Hope that clears things up for those who are interested.

    Daniel Goddard
    York Vision News Editor

    * Edited at request of the author

    Reply Report

  20. I think its silly these people asking for legal action?! this is our students union, we should be siding with them not vegetarians.
    Writing some daily mail style article about the ins and outs of the university food vendors is not only counter productive to the courtyards revenue but also to us as students and the student body as a whole.


    Comment edited by a moderator

    Reply Report

  21. Daniel Goddard is THE biggest * i have ever met in my life.

    * Comment edited by a moderator

    Reply Report

  22. Daniel, dissatisfied already more or less said that. It is quite evident that this article is not the full story but a more summarised version, evidently a few of the comments including yours were confused about that.

    Keeping that in mind, my statement is in response to early comments accusing the article of copying. You knew we didn’t copy your article, but at the time of my comment other people didn’t, so I felt obliged to let them know, that is all.

    The ‘polite’ part was relating to the fact that we released our more summaried version after Vision’s fuller version and not before. Here I use ‘break’ to mean ‘publish first’, sorry if you were aspiring to another definition of break.

    None of this commenting is very necessary anymore, people already know we didn’t copy the story, and that Vision have a fuller version of the story.

    Reply Report

  23. Look, fighting never got anyone anywhere. Let’s negotiate, shall we? Nouse, you can have YUSU, and Vision, you can have the moral highground, and a slighly rougher staff. How about that?

    Reply Report

  24. 10 Mar ’10 at 4:23 pm

    Khianna Rhinchin

    I tried to leak it to take
    some of the heat away from my disgraceful
    actions during elections.

    Reply Report

  25. Why do vegetarians even care? Vegetarians aren’t contributing to the economy of meat by eating food that is cooked in recycled oil, they are just preventing this oil from being wasted.
    I really can’t see any rational reason why vegetarians should be put out by this story. I suppose you could argue religion if you really wanted to but 1) that’s not rational and 2) the university is secular. Whatever problems some ChristSoc or MosqueSoc members might have with GaySoc, they have to tolerate it. Unwitting and unintentional consumption of forbidden food-stuffs is no different

    Reply Report

  26. 10 Mar ’10 at 4:40 pm

    Malcolm Tucker

    Another f*** up from Rhianna Kinchin.

    How is she still in office?!

    Reply Report

  27. I agree with Maximillion.

    Reply Report

  28. This seems to be like a good arguement to merge the two campus papers. For a campus of our size it seems silly to have two papers.

    Reply Report

  29. Well said, Tucker, well said.

    Reply Report

  30. @~w I’m not so sure it is silly having two papers – ok the uni is small but personally I think the fact that we still are able to have two almost completely different styled newspapers shows a good level of diversity and also means that there is a bit of competition – which can only be helpful in getting the best stories out really!

    As for this whole bust up between whether Nouse should have bothered to put this story up – I see no problem in putting the story up again – there have afterall been a couple of times when Nouse have reported issues and Vision have also covered them. I think the main problem here is the fact that this actually involved Vision having to dig around and get a hold of the story first, so it would perhaps have been nice if Nouse had bothered to say something along the lines of “as reported earlier in Vision”. But hey ho. In light of everyone’s comments it doesn’t really seem to have made Nouse look very competent, so I don’t see why everyone is complaining about them putting it up so much.

    Also lol @ mediator – it almost sounds as if you’re making out as if having the moral highground and “rougher staff” is an insulting option compared to having YUSU!

    Reply Report

  31. ~w totally agree with you on that…

    ~Laura C… you miss the point, the point isn’t that there’s enough news and diversity to go round…, the point is that by having 2 were denying other societies resources, especially URY & YSTV who truly offer more diverse forms of media and news and to be honest have made big strides towards that effect in the last couple of years… The resource issue is why YUSU doesn’t allow societies to duplicate, no-one has ever challenged why the two papers get away with it ?… The competition is good yes but surely the real issue here is that even though you both compete, your essential spoon fed by the union in terms of resources and so your not efficient with what you have, grimstone house basically belongs to the papers, merge that into one and you have 2 media suites for 1 paper to use…

    In short do we really need 2 websites to comment on, 2 papers to read about the same thing, just a different angle, or is what we need 1 paper that can do this and do it damn well … its a lame argument to say that you need competition on campus to be good. other societies manage to do it without, and real competition lies nationally, thats why the logo on your header says NUS Awards winner and not YUSU Awards winner.

    Reply Report

  32. Though I disagree with that idea in general, the website point is moot because they cost such a small amount to run.

    Reply Report

  33. Pang Lover: How exactly do Nouse and Vision use more resources? YUSU don’t pay for costs other than (some of the) printing costs. Nouse and Vision together print about as often as newspapers at Uni’s that only have one paper, so by merging them, you’d still be paying *exactly the same* printing costs. Additionally, most Uni’s have sabbatical newspaper editors because the workload of producing a newspaper every 2 weeks would be too much for a single editor working part-time.

    Reply Report

Leave a comment

Please note our disclaimer relating to comments submitted. Please do not post pretending to be another person. Nouse is not responsible for user-submitted content.