MPs back calls to reform school meals and drop mandatory portions of meat, fish and dairy

“PETA urges the Department of Education to update archaic school food standards to remove mandatory portions of meat and dairy — foods that have been shown to be harmful to the environment and human health.”

A group of MPs have joined vegan charity PETA in urging the UK government to ‘review school food standards and scrap mandatory portions of meat, dairy and fish’.

Among them are Caroline Lucas and Dame Diana Johnson DBE.

Joining them are more than 40 English advisers, Greenpeace UK, Upfield, Quorn, Linda McCartney Foods, doctors and others.

On behalf of all supporters, PETA wrote an open message letter to the new Secretary of State for Education, Kit Malthouse, calling on the Department of Education to reform school meals so that children can have a greener and healthier future.

“Updating archaic school food standards”

According to PETA, while the National Food Strategy recommended updating school food standards for England to remove mandatory portions of meat, the government did not address this issue in its food strategy white paper.

The letter noted that “current meat and dairy mandates limit the ability of schools to serve climate-friendly vegan foods to children.” PETA also cited a recent study, which found that a global switch to vegan diets would lead to a 68% decrease in carbon emissions.

Additionally, PETA added that the regulations are out of step with the government’s own nutritional advice to the public – the Eatwell Guide – which helps meet nutritional needs with meatless protein sources such as beans, peas, lentils. and mycoproteins.

British children and vegan meals

The letter is the latest action of the campaign – which has also been supported by Sir Paul McCartneyand award-winning teenage vegan chef Omari McQueen.

According to a 2019 survey by food brand Linda McCartney Foods, 70% of UK children want more vegan meals on their school menus.

More than 3,500 schools in the UK are also part of Meat Free Monday – an international campaign launched by the McCartney family which encourages people to go meat-free once a week to save animals, improve their health and that of the planet.

“Billions of animals are raised and killed each year for their meat… All farmed animals end their lives in a brutal death at the slaughterhouse. Eating less meat is a compassionate step that helps prevent cruelty and suffering,” its website states.

“School lunch reform will provide students with a healthier, greener future and spare sentient animals a terrifying death,” said Dr. Carys Bennet, PETA’s head of corporate projects.

“PETA urges the Department of Education to update archaic school food standards to remove mandatory portions of meat and dairy — foods that have been shown to be harmful to the environment and human health.”

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