School Meals: Veganism

Department for Education written question – answered at on 24 March 2022.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment has he made of requiring vegan meals to be provided in schools in England.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The standards for school food are set out in the Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014. These ensure that schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to make sure that children get the energy and nutrition they need during the school day.

The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and to provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with school food standards is mandatory for all maintained schools, including academies and free schools.

The department believes that head teachers, school governors, and caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies, particularly by considering local circumstances and the needs of their pupils. In doing so, the department expects schools to make reasonable adjustments for pupils with particular requirements. For example, this includes reflecting dietary and cultural needs. School food policies work best when schools discuss them with parents and pupils, so that parents can raise pupils’ particular dietary needs.

The government also recognises the valuable contribution plant-based foods and drinks make to the diet, alongside the contribution that fish and animal-based foods and drinks can have. For example, plant-based foods including beans, pulses, and meat and plant-based drinks are included in the government’s Eatwell Guide, accessible here: These foods are highlighted within the food groups of the guide, as they can be considered more environmentally sustainable and promote a diet that is lower in saturated fat and higher in fibre.

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