Schools urged to provide a vegan meal option every day as petition exceeds 25,000 signatures

Read Time:   |  13th August 2022

When it comes to vegan meal options in schools, choice is severely lacking from the menu. But a new petition that's gaining traction in the UK aims to change that...

Schools in the UK are under growing pressure to provide children with at least one vegan meal option every day.

Under the School Food Regulations 2014, schools in the UK must serve meat three or more days a week, but there is no specific rule requiring they provide a vegan option. 

However, a new online petition created by Aaron Browning – calling for ‘nutritionally balanced, hot vegan meals’ to be offered daily – is gaining traction. 

Vegan meal options in schools should not be optional

The petition, which has garnered a whopping 25,812 signatures so far, quotes Laura Chepner, Chair of the Vegan Society’s Education Network.

“The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on educators not to discriminate against vegan children and students,” Chepner said.

“Currently the Government only asks that schools make ‘reasonable choices’ when deciding whether to cater for vegans in their care. 

“Those who choose not to are discriminating and it is about time that the grey area became black and white. Vegan options in 2022 should not be optional.”

Government responds

The petition needs 100,000 signatures to be considered for a debate in Parliament – but the government has already responded to the request online.

“The government recognises the importance of plant-based foods from a cultural and environmental point of view,” it said.

“The government believe that headteachers, governors and their caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies, in consultation with parents. 

“The School Food Standards have been designed to allow schools the flexibility to do this. We expect schools to act reasonably, providing choices that take account of cultural, religious and special dietary needs, including veganism…

“In doing so, we expect schools to accommodate pupils with particular requirements, to reflect dietary and cultural needs. Schools should consult with parents when making changes to school food provision and ensure parents have access to information on the food provided.”

The government added that parents or pupils should use the school’s ‘complaints policy’ if they were refused a vegan option. 

You can sign the petition here.

Want to make sure you’re feeding your kids the right stuff? Discover exactly what healthy vegan kids should be eating.

Feature image credit: Peter Cade/ Getty Images

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