Rising Food Costs May Affect Choice of Meat in Dining Halls

The large increase in food prices over the past six months will not affect the amount of meat that Harvard will serve in its dining halls, but it may change the type of meat that students will eat, Charles G. Hurlbut Jr., the director of the Food Services Department, said yesterday.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Wednesday that retail food prices in the Boston area showed a record increase last month. The largest increase--one of 5.4 per cent--affected the price of meat, poultry and fish.

"We seek the best buys," Hurlbut said, "but the meat market is a very volatile one. If there is a cutback, it will be by switching to other parts of the carcass or to other types of meat as prices indicate." Hurlbut added, however, that he has no plans to change the amount of meat on the menu.

The Department will abide by "certain government and self-imposed minimum specifications," he said. Decisions on what cuts and types of meat may be used are "largely determined by market conditions," Hurlbut commented.

The rising food prices will not alter the $25 increase in boarding fees next year, Hale Champion, vice president for Financial Affairs, said yesterday. Champion added that the food services carry reserve funds which could be used to absorb increasing food prices.

Worse Than Mere Inflation

Hurlbut said that board fees have increased every year because of inflation. When asked if there had been similar food hikes in the past which have affected boarding fees, he said there had, "but not to the extent of the last six months."

The fact that Harvard buys meats in large quantities will not offset the effect of the rising prices, Hurlbut said. "Harvard enjoys a very desirable bargain because we buy meat at a lower price level," Hurlbut said, "but whenever consumer prices rise, ours rise by just about the same percentage."