I'm a college student and a vegetarian. I've noticed in the last year and a half that the dining hall department sometimes serves vegetarian food on the same platter as meat food, and I let the staff know. This has now happened several times and is getting more ridiculous (like pepperoni pizza and cheese made in the same pie). I'm not looking to sue/get damages, but is there is any standing from a health code standpoint to ask them to stop this?

Edit: to clarify about the preparation, I mean that when the staff puts a pizza into the oven, it is half cheese and half pepperoni, and they are served from the same dish. I am in Washtenaw County, Michigan

  • 1
    Can you clarify what "on the same platter" means? Also, how does one turn pizza into a pie? – Dale M Sep 17 '19 at 2:27
  • Possible duplicate of Can I sue a restaurant for serving me meat in vegetarian dish? – Nij Sep 17 '19 at 4:29
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    A health code standpoint? Is there some reason why even a small amount of meat is harmful to you? Meat isn't like nuts where there's a risk of a severe allergic reaction, forcing companies to ensure that they do not contaminate nut-free products with nuts. I don't believe you could do anything more than you could if you were served from a plate that had both free-range and non-free range chicken at one time. – forest Sep 17 '19 at 8:24
  • @Nij I don't believe this question is a duplicate. Jeff is talking about a dish which was "contaminated" with meat by being handled on the same dishes. The question you link to is about someone being served meat in a supposedly meat-free meal. – forest Sep 17 '19 at 8:25
  • @forest There is such a thing as a red meat allergy. It's caused by a particular variety of ticks. – mkennedy Sep 17 '19 at 17:09

The state health codes applicable to food are here esp. ch. V and here. The primary focus of those health codes is preventing the introduction of toxic substances or pathogens. There is obviously no law against serving meat, nor is there any law against half-and-half pizza. The only possible prospect for a health law addressing your interest would be via the allergy avenue (yes, you do not allege to be allergic to anything – my point is that even if you did, this would not help your cause). There are some provisions regarding training and informing when it comes to "major food allergens", which however is defined as

Milk, EGG, FISH (such as bass, flounder, cod, and including crustacean shellfish such as crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans

or proteins derived from the above. Note that mammal meat is not included (it may be an individual allergen, but it is not a statutory major food allergen).

Even if you wanted to sue, you would have a very hard time establishing that you were damaged. First you would have to establish that they have a legal obligation to serve you "vegetarian food" (crucially undefined). You might be able to establish that they made such a promise. Now we have to determine whether a reasonable person would conclude that a pie with half-meat and half non-meat is clearly not vegetarian food. I do not believe that there is secular case law addressing this, so the courts would resolve this by determining whether there is a reasonable means for a vegetarian to eat part of such a pizza – obviously, yes, only eat the cheese part (leave wide margins).

So there is no legal recourse for getting what you want: there are still ample political options.

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