While there is no legislation that requires the provision of vegan options, the Vegan Society argues schools have ‘an obligation to ensure that they do not interfere with a vegan’s right to freedom of conscience, and a responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to avoid any discrimination on the grounds of veganism’.
Michael said: “All children should be given the option of ordering a plant-based lunch at school, regardless of whether they are following a vegan lifestyle or not.
“If we don’t give children the free-will to choose to eat plant-based then we are not moving with the times and are denying children the chance to enjoy healthy, ethical foods that they may not be offered at home.”
She added: “I would like to see all school children every day of the week being able to access a plant-based menu so that they can make independent, conscious decisions. We need to carry on highlighting the huge benefits that a plant-based diet offers.
Michael’s proposal falls in line with the Soil Association (SA), who recently called for ‘compulsory meat-free school meals‘.
‘Time the government caught up’
“The update of the school food standards provides an ideal opportunity to make school meals healthier and more climate-friendly,” said Rob Percival, SA’s Policy Officer.
“We know that children would benefit nutritionally from eating more beans, pulses, and plant-based proteins. The climate would also benefit.
“Some schools are showing that it’s possible to serve children healthy plant-based meals… It’s time the government caught up – the updated school food standards should require that schools serve a plant-based protein day each week.”
Michael hopes to role out the Plant-based Lunch Campaign in her children’s primary school imminently as a ‘pilot project’ – hoping other schools with adopt the same ‘healthy and ethical structure’.