MP’s interpellation – vegan meals in educational institutions

6 lipca 2023

Thanks to the activities of Future Food 4 Climate, MP Franciszek Sterczewski has submitted an interpellation to the Minister of Health regarding the possibility of introducing vegan meals in educational institutions.
„A natural consequence of the growing interest in the vegan diet should be the creation of a legal possibility to introduce it in schools or kindergartens. According to the Regulation of the Minister of Health of July 26, 2016 on the groups of foods to be sold to children and adolescents in units of the educational system and the requirements to be met by foodstuffs used in the collective nutrition of children and adolescents in such units (hereinafter: the Regulation on food groups and requirements), one of the foodstuffs to be sold to children and adolescents in units of the educational system are milk substitute drinks, such as soy, rice, oat, corn, buckwheat, nut, lamb, coconut or almond drink.

It is therefore clear from the wording of the regulation that it is possible to introduce vegan food into educational institutions as a parallel menu. Most school cafeterias already offer several dishes to choose from, so one of them could be a vegan option. However, many principals and directors have doubts that such an action will not lead to a violation of Article 103 (1) (9) and (10) of the Food and Nutrition Safety Act of August 25, 2006. This provision provides for fines for an entity that, as part of its activities, advertises or promotes in an educational system unit foodstuffs other than those indicated in the Regulation on Foodstuff Groups and Requirements, or foodstuffs that do not meet the requirements indicated in the Regulation.

The regulation itself on this issue is not structured with sufficient precision. Voices are reaching me from both NGOs, schools and sanitary services that they do not know how to interpret the content of the regulation.

In view of the above, I address the following questions to the Ministry of Health:

  1. is it therefore permissible to introduce meals consisting exclusively of plant-based ingredients into the menus of educational institutions – in parallel with traditionally served food? If not – why not?
  2. Will the Ministry post information on the interpretation of these regulations on the website or otherwise communicate it to all school directors, sanitary services and other interested parties? If yes – what method will be used? If not – why not?”

We look for an answer!

Credit: unsplash