Canteens: One Obligatory Vegetarian Meal Per Week from 1st November

General News
From the 1 st November, all canteens of France will offer a vegetarian option per week

This measure of the law passed at the end of 2018, supposed to meet environmental and public health issues should be applied in all school canteens.

Less meat and better quality. Although this practice tends to be widespread in French homes, it has not yet reached all the canteens of our children. This is the objective of one of the measures included in the Food Law.

From the 1 st November 2019, all schools must offer at least once a week, a vegetarian meal option.

In early September, the Federation of Parents’ Councils (CIPF), the NGO Greenpeace and the Vegetarian Association of France, wanted to remind the communities of their obligations, while many of them had not received the message.

A vegetarian meal in the canteen, how does it work?

The municipalities that already offer two menus for the same meal will be required to serve, once a week, an option without meat or fish, based on vegetable protein (legumes, cereals …) and / or animal (eggs, dairy products).
Those who only offer a menu will not be affected.

Too much meat wasted

This experiment, which will last two years, is born from a simple observation: “too much meat, which is not always to the taste of the children, is wasted in the canteens”, points out the member LREM Samantha Cazebonne, who has tabled an amendment to this effect under the law passed in October 2018.

The elected of the fifth constituency of the French established outside France and former headmaster in French high schools abroad ensures that it is the students themselves, “sensitive to environmental issues,” who “ask for alternatives during the meal midday “.

“Pass on these good practices to families”

As Greenpeace points out, in a survey conducted in 2018 , 59% of French people are in favour of introducing vegetarian meals in school canteens. This figure jumps to 74% for 18-34 year olds. Yet today, almost 7 out of 10 children have no choice but to eat meat or fish at every meal.

Beyond ecological concerns (deforestation, animal welfare …), offering less meat and better quality is also a public health issue, given the recommendations of the authorities, which recommend to consume less . “These good practices, applied with pedagogy to students, are then passed on directly to families,” adds Samantha Cazebonne.

The Minister of Agriculture fiercely opposed

However, this measure was fiercely opposed by the Minister of Agriculture. Before the vote of the law, Didier Guillaume had estimated on CNews , that “everyone must do as he wants: those who want to eat meat eat it, those who do not want to eat do not eat it”.

Not to discourage the member, who claims to have received “very good echoes”, from municipalities already offering vegetarian options, despite the resistance of farmers.

“Mentalities are changing, and it is not this amendment that has changed things. We see it every day in supermarkets: the French prefer the quality of meat to the quantity. It’s up to the industries to adapt.”

At the end of the experiment, the member would like this vegetarian option to be offered on a daily basis. 

The measures planned for collective catering in the law Food: 
– Experimentation of a vegetarian meal per week
– Decrease of plastics in food containers
– Prohibition of plastic bottles in 2020
– 50% of local or organic products in 2020

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