French mayor’s decision for meat-free school lunches amid the pandemic sparks outrage | Totally Vegan Buzz

French mayor’s decision for meat-free school lunches amid the pandemic sparks outrage

UK government urged to take meat dairy off school menus
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The country’s politicians slammed the mayor’s decision stating he was insulting French butchers and harming the health of children by keeping meat off school lunch menus.

The Lyon mayor has been criticized for removing meat from school lunches in the French city.

Recently, Green party member Gregory Doucet called for a single menu in schools without meat in a move to streamline and quicken services at lunches amid coronavirus restrictions.

He added that meals fed to children in Lyon’s 206 schools would remain nutritionally balanced.

Fish and eggs still remain on the menus.

But the decision sparked a heated debate among politicians on Sunday.

‘Unacceptable insult’

According to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, the move is an “unacceptable insult” for French farmers and butchers.

“We can see that the moralising and elitist policy of the Greens excludes the popular classes. Many children often only get to eat meat at the school canteen,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie accused Doucet of risking children’s health.

“Let’s stop putting ideology on our children’s plates,” the French politician wrote on Twitter.

“Let’s just give them what they need to grow well. Meat is part of it.” 

Denormandie added that he had requested the region’s top local official – the prefect- to overrule the meat-free decision.

The agriculture minister regularly speaks in defense of the meat industry.

Last December, he slammed the cultured meat trend stating he will ensure meat ‘remains natural and never artificial’.

He retweeted an article on the news that Singapore has become the world’s first country to allow the sale of cultured meat along with a caption that read: “Is this really the society we want for our children? 

“[For] me, no. I say it clearly: meat comes from life, not from laboratories. Count on me so that in France, meat remains natural and never artificial!”

Mayor’s response

Despite the furore, Doucet defended his meat-free decision, saying that the measure was introduced “solely” due to the pandemic and that the city’s right-wing predecessor, Gerard Collomb, had taken “exactly the same measure” during the first wave.

Plant-based trend in France

Lyon is considered the culinary capital of the country and is particularly renowned for its meat and offal-based cuisine.

However, the food landscape and consumer preferences are rapidly changing.

 Demand for meat-free products is on the rise.

 Culina Hortus in Lyon was voted the best vegetarian restaurant in the world in 2020.

 Recently, ONA restaurant in the city of Ares, near Bordeaux, in south-west France,  won a Michelin Guide star, the first for an establishment serving only meat-free products in France.

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