Controversy in France over meatless school menus

School cantines need to restrict numbers

THE City Council in Lyon, France has decided to take meat off the menu at local schools.

The reason, according to Mayor Gregory Doucet, is the need to speed up service and meal shifts in canteens during the pandemic.

But the measure, which does not affect fish or eggs, has unleashed a political battle, with several French ministers accusing of “imposing ideology” on students through food.

The Minister of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, tweeted “Let’s stop putting ideology on our children’s plates!” He added “Let’s give them what they need to grow well. Meat is part of that.”

“In addition to the unacceptable insult to French farmers and butchers, it is clear that the moralistic and elitist politics of the Greens exclude the working classes. Many children often only have the chance to eat meat within their school lunches” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted, while speaking of “scandalous ideology.”

His colleague from Public Accounts, Olivier Dussopt, criticized it as “antisocial”, while Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said he was “in favour of leaving the choice to the students”.

Lyon City Council explained its choice due to the need to keep a distance of two metres between children in the dining room, as requested by the Ministry of Education, which means fewer students can eat at the same time.

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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.