Pork Row Could See a Mandatory Vegetarian Menu in French Public Schools

At last count, admittedly some time back, there were 65,849 restaurants in France and just 370 offered a vegetarian option; but now a religious row over eating pork in school canteens might be about to change things.

A vegetarian butchery in Paris! (Screengrab)

A vegetarian butchery in Paris! (Screengrab)

Some French Mayors are insisting that school menus must strictly follow government guidelines where meat, poultry, fish and eggs are core to the balanced diet schools are mandated to offer pupils in France. But there have been increasing incidents with pupils whose religion forbids the eating of pork. French schools operate a strictly secular system so no exceptions are supposed to be made for religious sensibilities.

Now, according to an AP wire report,  a French parliamentarian aims to make vegetarian menus mandatory at public schools as a way of resolving the problem of religious minorities who refuse to eat pork.

Its not expected to be a widely popular or politically astute move however, as the AP story noted: ” Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll — also spokesman for the Socialist government — has criticised the idea as harmful to French livestock farmers. The government has faced major farmer protests in recent weeks over low pork prices. ‘Supporting French livestock with vegetarian menus: that’s Yves Jego’s program! Let’s be consistent,’ ” Le Foll tweeted.

Read more here about the tribulations of not being a committed meat eater in a country whose UNESCO-protected gastronomic heritage is centered around some of the finest farm-reared meat and poultry in Europe.

However help is at hand … if you can afford the prices. Some French chefs, sniffing a light breeze of change in the air, have launched menus based soley on vegetables … just don’t use the word vegetarian to these high priests of food though! More on this menu revolution here.

Meanwhile we’ve plenty of other stories below on trends — good and bad — in a country where food rules.


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