Great news for French schoolchildren — a new law will require school cafeterias to offer meat-free meals at least once a week and eliminate single-use plastics!
The new law will require schools to provide a vegetarian menu (other animal proteins like dairy and eggs will be permitted, but this is a huge step in the right direction) at least one day a week over a two-year period. Data regarding the impact of this change on health, pupil numbers, and waste will be recorded. This major move is the result of the efforts of 24 MPs who presented the amendment bill to the Assembly with the guidance of motion leader Barbara Pompili MP (La République en Marche, LREM).
This is incredible news from a country whose traditional cuisine prides itself on animal proteins like foie gras or coq au vin. Greenpeace, which advocates for meat-free meals in school cafeterias, reported that most schools in France offered meat at every single meal, making students’ daily protein levels far above the recommendations of the national agency for food safety. This new law will allow people to see that ditching meat is easy and will not negatively affect the health or academic performance of students, and these healthy, more environmentally-friendly eating habits are important to instill at a young age when children are quickest to learn new concepts and develop habits they can carry on with them for the rest of their lives and perhaps influence their parents and families as well.
Commenting on the new meat-free law, Pompili said it reflected “a strong view from the population”, and was a step “in the right direction,” and she made a point of noting that a balanced diet need not include meat. She added, “We need schools to play a role in teaching children what [good] food is.”
In regards to the elimination of single-use plastics, Pompili said: “This is a real step forward for public health. The goal is to protect ourselves against eventual health risks. Plastic materials can contain substances that are known to be ‘endocrine disruptors.’” She added, “We want to introduce a ‘principle of precaution’ in the catering sector.”
Eliminating meat and single-use plastics is, of course, excellent news for the environment in addition to human health. Not only do plastics pose risks to our personal health, leaching into our drinking water, but they are also literally choking our planet to death. The fishing industry is largely to blame for plastic pollution in our oceans, with an estimated 46 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch said to be made up of abandoned fishing nets.
In the U.S., similar “Meatless Monday” type programs have shown impressive results. From 2012-2017, Humane Society of the United States’ Meatless Monday campaign implemented at 263 school districts resulted in saving the lives of 10.3 million land animals, and it eliminated 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, a decrease that amounts to the equivalent that is produced by driving 1.4 billion miles! There is no reason why French schools cannot achieve comparable results.
Want to learn how ditching animal products from your diet has the potential to heal both you and the rest of the world? Then be sure to get your hands on a copy of the Eat for the Planet book! Filled with images and facts, it is suitable for all ages and is a great way to get your kids to read and start making healthier, more environmentally-friendly choices on their own.
And remember to SHARE this with your network as another reminder that the future is plant-based!
Image Source: Pixabay