A row has broken out in Lyon, the culinary capital of France, after the city’s mayor decided to ban meat from school menus during the pandemic.

The council came up with the idea of a meat-free menu across all school canteens because of the challenges of observing social distancing while at the same time serving just short of 30,000 students in two hours with both meat and veggie options. Serving a vegetarian menu with no options to all will streamline the system.

The farming community was, unsurprisingly, furious and held protests, complete with tractors and farm animals, in front of the city hall.

Veggie meal

Many members of government also spoke out against the measure. On Twitter, Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin called it an “unacceptable insult to French farmers and butchers”. He also said it was damaging to the working classes as for some poorer children, their school meal was their only chance to have meat in their diet.

Agriculture minister Julien Denormandie agreed, tweeting: “Let’s stop putting ideology on our children’s plates. Let’s just give them what they need to grow well. Meat is part of it.”

The council, led by Green mayor Grégory Doucet, promised a return to meat dishes once Covid restrictions are relaxed and says its menu is not vegetarian, but includes fish.

FINAL TASTE BANNER

4 COMMENTS

  1. Having been to Nice a couple of times and was able to have two meals at “Pauls” i can understand their feelings about what they should feed their children, They should have what they feel is best. Best luck to both sides.

  2. Brilliant idea! Healthier, more than likely it’s cheaper and definitely better for the planet.
    Think the UK could learn from this and maybe just have 1 or 2 days a week when meat is offered.

  3. Children *don’t* need meat in their diet, nobody does. They need protein and a balanced diet, and options to allow for personal tastes and perhaps intolerances. I also think it’s a good idea to get children accustomed to a meat free or low meat diet since the idea of meat and two veg for everyone throughout their lives will become unsustainable. But, veggie meals must be imaginative and varied – and where better for this to be pioneered but in Lyons, for obvious reasons. Meat farmers need to get used to the idea that they will need to adapt to changing circumstances, so why not start giving over a portion of their land to vegetable growth, rather than massive resource draining beef production, for instance? I love meat of all kinds, but I’ve cut down to eating only three meat meals a week instead of 12-14. I actually feel better for.it, though I find it hard to keep varying my meals and keep them interesting. If a meat-free diet causes such uproar, maybe only serve meat once or twice a week? I don’t see why offering fish is any harder than offering meat during COVID though – in fact I find most of the arguments for.and against in this article to be tenuous at best, and no mention.of the green/eco benefits to everyone, which I see to be the most important. I foresee a future where meat will be rationed and absurdly expensive for these reasons anyway. Just my humble opinion of course.

  4. Not interested inveggie only cooking. Thinking I miss traditional French cuisine with a variety of fresh veggie and salads such as Frise. and other in season
    Fruits ,salad , and veggie combinations
    However I also miss reading about good seafood meat courses

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