VIDEO. Limoges town hall abandons the second vegetarian meal of the week in school canteens

The Climate law makes it compulsory to offer a vegetarian menu in school canteens. Since September 2022, the town hall of Limoges has offered a second meatless meal per week. An option that she abandons, the children not liking what is offered to them.

Within the framework of the Climate and Resilience law promulgated on August 22, 2021, article of law n°252 ratifies the obligation of the vegetarian menu once a week in all school canteens. This possibility had been tested since the EGALim law of 2018.

The town hall of Limoges had gone further sincea vegetarian menu was offered twice a weeksince the start of the 2022 school year.

“We make vegetable shepherd’s pie with normal mashed potatoes and instead of meat, we put vegetable shredded meat, which gives a thicker consistency” says Séverine Domingue, canteen employee

Except that the vegetable proposal, as cooked by the central kitchen, was not to the taste of the children. As a result, the contents of the plate or almost ended up in the trash.

Abandonment of the second meal without meat

The town hall of Limoges therefore reconsiders its decision and gives a meat menu instead.

For Jean-Luc Dienis, head of the central kitchen, it is difficult to develop two vegetarian meals that appeal to children “You have to find subterfuge, a presentation that looks like a meat product like nuggets, fingers etc… When you have it once a week, it goes overall well, twice we tried it out which won’t be transformed. And above all, we are in Limousin land, so… there you go!” concludes with a smile the head of the central kitchen.

Friday being fish day, the meat is therefore reinvited to the table a second time in the week. For Séverine Pineau, Vice-President of the FCPE de Haute-Vienne, “The meal in the canteen is also an opportunity for some children to eat meat”

Indexed on the family quotient, the meals amount to an average of 2 euros for Limoges schoolchildren… Enough to allow the most precarious to eat meat regularly.

A meatless option every day

It should be recalled that since January 1, 2023, state-run canteens as well as national public companies are required to offer the choice of a vegetarian menu daily. These are the canteens of CROUS, hospitals, prisons, armies, ministries, companies in which the State has more than 50% of shares. This list must be completed and confirmed by the State services.

This daily obligation does not concern school canteens since they depend on local authorities, not on the State (although the AVF strongly contests this interpretation for colleges and high schools). The vegetarian option is being tested in these canteens. The relevance of making this option mandatory will be studied in September 2023.

New eating habits

The Climate Law provides that training standards for kitchen professions must incorporate the benefits of the diversification of protein sources in terms of health and the environment.

Experimenting with the vegetarian option should allow actors in the field time to adapt to training, test new recipes and inform users.

Remember that the central kitchen must respond to daily constraints of price, food balance, but also to new imperatives, such as going through short circuits or opening up to other ways of cooking. The training is not yet there.

However, knowledge of plant-based cuisine is only developed if there is a desire to take an interest in it. Some canteens did not wait for the EGAlim law or the Climate law to involve children in educational gardens and develop recipes to promote the intake of vegetable proteins

VIDEO. Limoges town hall abandons the second vegetarian meal of the week in school canteens