Vegan school meal
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Traditionally school meals, particularly those served in the United States and Europe, are made with meat and dairy. In recent years schools there and in other geographic regions have begun adding vegan and plant-based options.
Culture, politics and government policies determine what food is served at school meals, and schools serving vegan meals are often responding to national policies or demands from local communities. Reasons cited for offering vegan school meals include concerns about nutrition, allergies, cultural diversity and sustainability. Schools that add vegan lunch have faced complaints and those that don't have it have faced criticism.
In 2006, Vegetarian Journal reported a survey of food service directors in the United States by the School Nutrition Association found "5% of elementary, 6% of middle, and 10% of high schools offer vegan options." By 2017, the School Nutrition Association found 14% of school districts across the country offer vegan lunches compared to 11.5% of schools offering vegan lunch in 2016.
In 2017, Brazil adopted the Conscious Eating Brazil policy (Alimentação Consciente Brasil) with an aim of increasing fruits and vegetables and decreasing meat in the country's school lunches. The act led to some school districts adding vegan meals.
The United Kingdom's School Food Standards require school meals to include fish, meat, and dairy. In 2020, Paul McCartney signed a letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson asking that the government change the requirement and allow schools to serve vegetarian and vegan meals. The campaign to change the UK School Food Standards is led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and supporters include Greenpeace and the Royal Society for Public Health.
Examples of vegan lunches
Vegan school lunches being served by schools include sloppy Joes in Teofilandia, Brazil, hummus pizza and Kung Pao tofu in Portland, Maine, USA, root vegetable soup in Porvoo, Finland, vegan chicken nuggets in Deerfield, Illinois, USA, vegan quesadillas and Szechuan noodles in Kittery, Maine, USA, falafel sandwiches and stuffed vegan peppers at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA, and vegan tamale and vegan teriyaki burgers in Los Angeles, California, USA.
The MUSE School in Calabasas, California is the first vegan K–12 school in the United States. The German International School in Chennai also adopted veganism since the 2017–2018 academic year, becoming the first vegan K–12 school in India.
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