The Vegan Society is calling on the Government to offer more vegan food in public sector canteens including prisons, hospitals, schools, workplaces and universities.
The organization will be lobbying for these institutions to accommodate the increasing number of people opting for plant-based food.
The long-running campaign is a response to the ‘challenging situations’ the society’s advocacy team often hears about from vegans in schools, hospitals and prisons.
A right to appropriate meals
“Veganism has been found to come within the scope of international human rights provisions and vegans in the UK are protected under human rights and equality law,” says the Society.
“Therefore vegans should already have the right to suitable, animal-free catering in public sector settings.
“We are now campaigning for tasty, nutritious, appropriate vegan meals on every public sector catering menu every day.”
The plans are not supported by everyone; although the major nutritional bodies have stated that well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages, some are worried that offering vegan options to children could be seen as promoting a plant-based diet.
Paediatric dietician, Ana-Kristina Skrapac, told the BBC that vegan diets can have ‘devastating effects on the children’s growth and maturation and development’ if not monitored by a doctor.
She added: “We do see that in clinical practices – things such as children presenting with rickets or anaemia – and if we can catch it early, we can reverse it.
“But certainly the concern would be if these diets are implicated in a wide sense that is not monitored by a qualified professional, then these risks are very real and, if not discovered, can have quite devastating effects to the child.”
However, The Vegan Society works closely with the British Dietetic Association to ‘share reliable information about vegan nutrition, including the message that well-planned vegan diets can support healthy living in people of all ages’.
As part of its campaigning, information is available for providers, to help them provide balanced meals.
The Society says: “It’s easy to produce tasty options that are rich in fibre and low in saturated fat, provide multiple servings of fruit and vegetables, and exclude processed meat, which the World Health Organization has classified as a cause of cancer.”
You can find out more about the campaign – including how you can get involved –here