State canteens offer vegetarian meal starting June

From June, all State-funded canteens in Portugal will have to offer at least one vegetarian meal.

The new law was approved in March and published on Monday (April 17) in the government’s official newspaper Diário da República.

The rules apply to all public sector canteens – in hospitals and health centres, schools, universities, prisons, education centres and social service units.

If there is no demand for the meals, the law allows for school and health units to drop them.

If demand is low, canteens can establish a “pre-order regime”.

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

The idea for the law was put forward by animal rights party PAN, inspired by a petition with over 15,000 signatures.

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

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