Accused of imposing vegetarian menus on primary school children out of vegan conviction, the ecologist town hall of Lyon is facing a lively controversy, fueled by several members of the government this weekend. “Scandalous ideology”, tweeted Gérald Darmanin, Saturday February 20, attacking the choice of the Lyon municipality to offer a single menu without meat in the canteens of primary schools, from the start of Monday. “Unacceptable insult to French farmers and butchers”, added the Minister of the Interior, affirming that the environmentalists want to exclude the popular classes from the school canteens because, he says “Many children often only have the canteen to eat meat”, on behalf of a “Moralist and elitist politics”.

By omitting to specify that the former mayor of Lyon, Gérard Collomb, had taken exactly the same measure, on the occasion of the release of the first confinement, in May 2020, the only means according to him to ensure the distribution of 29,000 daily meals in the city’s primary schools. The option of the former mayor LRM has therefore been taken up by the municipality now led by environmentalists, allies of the united left.

Read also Do we have to offer a vegetarian menu in the canteen every day?

Before the health crisis, Lyon students had the choice between three starters and two different main dishes, including one based on meat or fish. However, half of primary school students did not choose meat, out of taste, family habit or religious precept. “The only way to get all the children at school to eat a hot meal is to offer a meal without meat, but with animal proteins such as fish or eggs, which meets nutritional requirements. We are not excluding anyone, it is even the opposite! “, explains Stéphanie Léger, Deputy Mayor for Education.

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Criticism

In its sixth school health protocol, the Ministry of National Education imposed a distance of two meters between the students in the canteen for the start of the school year, against one meter previously. This makes canteen time more difficult to manage and does not allow you to offer several dishes. “We make all the children eat hot, by applying the health precautions requested, and members of the government put us on trial against elitism, it’s all the same the world upside down”, believes Stéphanie Léger. “I am new in politics, I find that putting the political game on the backs of children is very dishonest”, adds the deputy mayor environmentalist Grégory Doucet.

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