Environment minister Barbara Hendricks claims eating meat is damaging to the environment and has ordered only vegetarian food to be served at official government functions.
The ban came to light in an email from a senior civil servant in the environment ministry, which was sent to department heads. The email states that the ministry has a duty to mitigate against the "negative effects of meat consumption" and must "set an example". It stated that animal agriculture accounts for a significant proportion of greenhouse gas emissions.
Barbara Hendricks is a member of the Social Democrats, who have raced ahead of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats party. Senior figures have pounced on this policy as evidence that the centre-left social democrats will meddle with citizens' private lives.
Barbara Hendricks said: “We’re not tell anyone what they should eat. But we want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish.”
"I'm not having this Veggie Day through the back door," Christian Schmidt, the food minister, replied.