New law forces State canteens to offer vegetarian meals

It is a huge victory for vegetarians. A draft law to ensure that all public canteens in Portugal offer at least one vegetarian meal has been approved today (March 3) in Parliament.

If all goes according to plan, it will be enforced in about “two months” time, writes Público.

The proposal, put forward by animal rights party PAN, was inspired by a petition with over 15,000 signatures demanding at least one vegetarian option at public canteens in schools, universities, hospitals and prisons.

Voting was approved by PS, PCP, BE and Os Verdes MPs, with PSD and CDS-PP centre-right members abstaining.

Veggie menus will be prepared by “qualified technicians” to ensure they follow rules for a “healthy and balanced diet”.

André Silva, PAN’s only MP, explains that the law won’t involve any “extra costs” as vegetarian dishes are usually “cheaper to make” than those for meat eaters.

The law also includes a clause allowing canteens to ditch veggie meals if there is not enough demand for them.