We Have An Opportunity To Get Vegan Meals In Schools: Let's Take It

Scottish schools are facing a revamp of their meals policy
Campaigners want to replace unhealthy school meals with nutrient-dense plant-based options

The Scottish Government is consulting on the 'Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools'.

This is an opportunity for us all to comment and encourage the provision of plant-based food and drink in our schools. Submissions must be in by August 29.

You can find full information on the consultation and how to make submissions here.

Vegan provisions in Scotland

Earlier this year we published the results of our survey on vegan provision in state entities in Scotland, which revealed (among other things) that many of our schools are not providing plant-based food suitable for vegans. 

This has meant that vegan children who ought to be benefiting from the free meals and drinks at school are missing out, and others are being denied access to food services at school. We meet vegan children on our vegan information stalls every week who tell us that they are not being given plant-based options at school. 

We have also been made aware that in at least one Local Authority area of Scotland, the school caterers are under the impression that they are not to provide plant-based meals containing no animal products, as veganism is a 'special diet' requiring specific NHS approval. 

This is of course not the case, as the NHS recognises that a well-planned plant-based diet can provide us with everything we need and some schools are already providing good plant-based options suitable for vegans.

Improving meals could have a big impact on childrens' health

Protection

Vegans have the same legal protections as people with religious beliefs, because our moral conviction that it is wrong to use and kill non-human animals unnecessarily is protected under law. 

We believe our state is failing to comply with its legal obligations by failing to provide food suitable for vegans in our schools (and other state entities) and we have made this clear to the Scottish Government.

We are all entitled to accurate and up to date nutritional information, but our current general nutritional guidelines and the specific nutritional requirements for schools undermine vegans and veganism by failing to recognise the nutritional adequacy of plant-based eating.

Opportunity

This consultation is an opportunity for us all to point this out, and to call for the Scottish Government to take steps to ensure that:

1. Plant-based food and drink that is suitable for vegans is made available to all on a day to day basis, without the need for special arrangements, in all of our schools (for every type of food or drink available, from canteen to vending machine, there ought to be good plant-based equivalents that are suitable for vegans).

2. Update our nutritional guidelines (general and school nutrition) to bring them into line with the fact that a fully plant-based diet is recognised as nutritionally adequate by, for example, the British Dietetics Association and the NHS. The NHS has also recognised the benefits of a plant-based diet for diabetes

3. Ensure that the school curriculum adequately reflects the fact that a fully plant-based diet is recognised as nutritionally adequate, including the Food and Health Experiences and Outcomes, and in the Better Eating, Better Learning curriculum (said to provide 'guidance and support to schools, local authorities, caterers, procurement departments, parents, children and young people to work in partnership to make further improvements in school food and food education').

The article was originally published by Go Vegan Scotland. You can find the post - including the organization's submission - here

The fact that we have written this piece for Plant Based News does not necessarily indicate that we agree with the content of any other PBN articles not authored by us. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Go Vegan Scotland is a volunteer vegan advocacy group that promotes veganism as a matter of justice for non-human animals through advocacy, education and information sharing. Our main activity is regular vegan information stalls, where we talk to people who approach us about the moral issue of our use and killing of other animals and encourage them to see that because animals are alive in the same way we are, we should all be vegan. We are unequivocal about the rights of other animals; we are also respectful of other humans and always remember that we were once non-vegan. For more information see www.goveganscotland.com and our Facebook /goveganscotland, Instagram and Twitter @goveganscotland.

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