Children following a vegan diet are registered as eating a “special diet.”
This week, the Brighton and Hove City Council was urged to add more vegan meals to school canteens in an effort to introduce more children to a plant-based diet.
The proposal was presented by Brighton mother Jill Pearson-Kleinm, who urged councillors to stop sidelining veganism and labelling it as a “special diet”.
The concerned mother put forth her views at a “virtual” meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee on Monday.
‘Responsible food choices’
“We are in the middle of a climate crisis where at least 60 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions come from animal farming including egg and dairy farming,” Pearson-Kleinm said.
“Today’s children need to move towards a more plant-based diet to have a future on this planet and we need to be encouraging them to do so.”
Pearson-Kleinm added that veganism should no longer be sidelined as a ‘special diet’ in schools and “that a vegan choice is [made] available every lunchtime to all children in all schools to enable them to make more responsible food choices.”
According to Argus news, 40 children at maintained schools in Brighton and Hove are currently registered to receive vegan meals and eight of the 15 vegetarian dishes on the school menus across Brighton and Hove are suitable for vegan children.
School vegan meals
Green councillor Hannah Clare, who chairs the committee, said that vegan children were registered as receiving a “special diet” to make sure they were not served meat, eggs or dairy food.
“This is not to sideline this choice or treat the child as different but to ensure they receive appropriate foods,” Clare said.
She added that the council would have a meeting with the school meals contractor Caterlink to discuss “how the request for more vegan options and a shift of emphasis towards a plant-based diet can be introduced.”
Clare also said she shared the concerns about the effect of animal products on the climate and was aware of the limited options available to people following a vegan lifestyle.
She concluded stating: “[The council] will also review how the tender for a school meals contract is specified to enhance the vegan option when it comes to retendering the service in the coming years.”
Brighton has been an exceptionally vegan-friendly city.
According to data released by holiday rental search engine, Holidu, which compared the number of vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants against the population in the largest cities across the UK, Brighton has found to have a much higher number of vegan choices for its people compared to Oxford and Edinburgh, who came second and third.
Brighton boasts of 9.14 vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants per 15,000 residents.
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