New law makes vegan option
compulsory in Portuguese public canteens, is Britain next?
THE Portuguese Parliament has approved
an obligatory vegan option in all public canteens; a huge step for vegan
catering for all. The recently approved new law compels all public
canteens (eg. Schools, Universities, Prisons, Hospitals) to provide a strict
vegetarian option in their menus within the next 6 months.
The significant achievement follows a popular petition promoted by the
Portuguese Vegetarian Society (Associa?o Vegetariana Portuguesa) in 2015, which
rapidly amounted to over 15,000 signatures and was discussed at the parliament
early in 2016.
Nuno Alvim, spokesperson for Associa?o Vegetariana Portuguesa, said:- "We
feel as if this is a major breakthrough in Portugal because it's the first time
we have any law that specifically mentions vegetarianism. It will promote
diversity of eating habits and encourage more people to choose the veggie option
as it become more widely available. This of course is predicted to have a
significant impact on the population health foremost, but also on animals and
the environment in the long run. Promoting the rights of the vegan population is
as important as campaigning and informing people to adopt veganism, in our
perspective. This law seems to be an important first step on the political
The new law results from a conjoint political initiative of 3 left wing
political parties, and was approved by a large majority on 3 March 2017, with
the abstention of some right wing parties.
With Portugal paving the way, The Vegan Society is even more optimistic about
promoting the diversity of eating habits by campaigning for vegan catering for
Some of this work aims to improve understanding of how to provide adequate vegan
meals in Hospital, and highlight that they are suitable for most people.
The Vegan Society's Dietitian Heather Russell, who provides education about
vegan catering, said:- "Hospitals, prisons and places of education need to
cater in a way that respects equality and diversity but, unfortunately, it can
still be difficult to obtain vegan meals in some settings. Staff training can
contribute to this issue as people working in institutions may not have been
educated about a vegan diet. Our campaigning work aims to achieve just what the
Portuguese law has; to ensure that nutritious vegan food is always readily
available. I am working with health professionals and caterers to help them make
this a reality."
The approval of this measure is widely celebrated by the Portuguese community as
an important achievement for the vegan community, while also meeting with the
expectations of those who follow the diet, whether it is for ethical, health or
A petition for vegan options on every:- School, College, University, Hospital
and Prison menu, in the UK, has reached over 16,000 signatures; a thousand more
than the Portuguese 1, but it needs 100,000, by 3 April 2017 to be considered
for debate in Parliament.
So what are your views on this? Do you think we should make a law making:-
"vegan option compulsory?" Please send your views to:-
News24@SouthportReporter.com as we would love to know what you think.